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Kashmir: Pakistan's Khan vows to 'fight until the end'

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Amid the latest crisis between Pakistan and India, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan accused India of preparing a military move in the disputed region of Kashmir.

Khan claimed the move would target "Azad Kashmir," the Pakistan-controlled part of the disputed region.

The Pakistani leader visited Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Wednesday to mark Pakistan's independence day. In a televised speech from Kashmir, he said Pakistani military was "fully prepared to respond" to any Indian aggression.

"We have decided that if India commits any type of violation we will fight till the end," Khan said.

Read more: Kashmir: The world's most dangerous conflict

No more special status

Khan earlier on Wednesday pledged to support the "struggle for self-determination" in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

"Independence Day is an opportunity for great happiness, but today we are saddened by the plight of our Kashmiri brothers in occupied Jammu and Kashmir who are victims of Indian oppression," Khan said in a statement ahead of the trip.

"I assure my Kashmiri brothers that we stand with them," he said.

Khan's visit comes a day after Islamabad called for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss India's "illegal actions."

India, Pakistan, and China all control parts of Kashmir, which is mostly populated by Muslims. Diplomatic ties between New Delhi and Islamabad soured when the Indian government unexpectedly revoked the special status for the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The move, which has been pushed by Hindu nationalists, strips the disputed state of rights to make its own laws and allows non-residents to buy property.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has claimed the move was to boost Kashmir's economic development and help "free Jammu and Kashmir from terrorism and separatism."

New Delhi accuses Islamabad of backing militant Islamist groups in Kashmir. Indian PM Modi justified his Kashmir move by saying that it would end "terrorism and separatism" in the area.

Indian security officials said on Wednesday a group of militants backed by the Pakistani military tried to infiltrate India-administered Kashmir to launch an attack, according to Reuters partner ANI.

India blocks Internet in Kashmir

India also detained a number of state leaders and had troops deploy barricades and razor wire on roads to prevent protests. Internet and phone services were also suspended, prompting residents to communicate with notes and human couriers.

Pakistan responded by expelling India's ambassador from Islamabad, suspending trade relations with India and launching a diplomatic offensive against New Delhi.

Khan's Wednesday visit serves as another show of solidarity with the Muslim-majority region. The Pakistani prime minister is set to give a speech in the state assembly where he is expected to denounce India's alleged human rights violations.

shs, dj/stb (Reuters, AP, AFP)

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