Pakistan praises Kashmir rebel, condemns Indian 'repression'

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has praised a slain Kashmir rebel leader and reiterated his condemnation of Indian "repression" in the disputed region, in remarks likely to re-ignite tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Addressing a Kashmir conference held in Islamabad on Thursday, Sharif referred to 22-year-old Burhan Wani, whose killing in July sparked months of violent demonstrations, as a "martyr."

More than 70 people have been killed since then in clashes with Indian forces, who use live ammunition and pellet guns to disperse the crowds.

India blames the violence on Pakistan-based militants, charges denied by Islamabad.

In recent months, the two countries have exchanged fire on several occasions alongside the so-called Line of Control, which divides Kashmir into Pakistani and Indian-ruled zones. Both countries claim the region in its entirety.