Pakistan’s prime minister has assured Kashmiri people living in the Indian-administered part of the divided region that he supports them in their struggle for self-determination.

Imran Khan condemned New Delhi’s August 5 decision to downgrade Kashmir’s status, as he began celebrations marking Pakistan’s independence day.

He is marking the day in Pakistan’s part of Kashmir to express solidarity with Kashmiris on the Indian-controlled side.

Imran Khan
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses Kashmir’s Legislative Assembly (MD Mughal/AP)

In a speech in its Legislative Assembly, he warned India against any attack on Pakistan-administered Kashmir to divert attention from human rights violations in the Indian-controlled portion of the Himalayan region.

He said his country has credible intelligence that India could launch an attack and that Pakistan is “fully prepared to respond”.

Pakistan has strongly condemned India’s recent downgrading of Kashmir’s status from a state with some autonomy to two territories.

India has imposed an unprecedented security lock-down to try to prevent any violent reaction in Kashmir to its downgraded status. Protests and clashes have occurred daily, though the curfew and communications blackout have meant the reaction is largely subdued.

Mr Khan told the Assembly that he will step up diplomatic efforts to highlight the issue of Kashmir and Indian actions there.

Kashmir is under a lockdown
Kashmir is under a lock-down following the move by India to downgrade its status (Mukhtar Khan/AP)

India and Pakistan gained independence in 1947 when British colonialists left the subcontinent. The next year, they fought the first of two wars over control of Kashmir, which ended with the region divided between them, although both claim it entirely.

Pakistan has called for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council, saying the move by India’s Hindu nationalist-led government threatens international peace and could lead to ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Poland holds the council presidency this month and foreign minister Jacek Czaputowicz said members would discuss the issue.