Pakistan wants UNHRC panel to probe human rights violations in IOK: FM Qureshi

Pakistan wants UNHRC panel to probe human rights violations in IOK: FM Qureshi

Geneva (Web Desk): Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday urged the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to constitute a commission of inquiry for investigation into blatant and grave human rights violations in Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK).

Addressing the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the council should urge India to immediately lift the curfew and reverse the clampdown and communications blackout in occupied Kashmir.

India should also be asked to stop the use of pellet guns, end the bloodshed and restore fundamental freedoms and liberties, he added.

The FM said that India should release political prisoners, stop targeting human rights defenders and fulfill obligations under the UN Security Council resolutions and various human rights instruments. “Indian draconian emergency laws in occupied Kashmir cannot be allowed to stand,” Qureshi said.

The foreign minister urged the human rights council to take steps to bring to justice the perpetrators of human rights violations of the innocent Kashmiris and in this context constitute a commission of inquiry as recommended by the office of the UNHCR.

He said if India has nothing to hide, it should allow unhindered access to the Commission of Inquiry. “Pakistan stands ready to allow access to the proposed Commission of Inquiry, or other mechanisms, on our side of the Line of Control; together with similar access to Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir,” the foreign minister said.

He said that Human Rights Council should authorise the Office of the High Commissioner, and the Human Rights Council's Special Procedures Mandate Holders, to monitor and report on India's human rights violations in IOK, and regularly update this Council.

“India should be called upon to allow unhindered access to Human Rights Organizations and international media, to the occupied valley,” he added.

Voicing serious concerns over the situation in occupied Kashmir, FM said we must not remain indifferent to the tragedy that is unfolding before our eyes. “We must act decisively and with conviction,” he asserted.

He said that the people of occupied Kashmir have been waiting for their right to self-determination for seven decades.

Drawing attention towards the prevailing situation in occupied Kashmir, the foreign minister said the basic and inalienable human rights of Kashmiri people are being trampled with impunity by India.

“The people of this occupied land are suffering systematic, and serial, violations of their fundamental freedoms,” Qureshi said.

The foreign minister said that India has transformed Occupied Kashmir into the largest prison on this planet, with virtually no access to basic amenities and means of communication over the last six weeks.  He said that shops are running short of supplies whilst people have no access to basic health services.

FM Qureshi said over 6,000 people, political workers, activists, students, and professionals have been arrested, without due process of law. “Many of them have been forcibly shipped to jails all over India, under draconian laws operative in IOK,” he said.

He added that independent and renowned international media outlets, as well as neutral observers, are regularly reporting horrendous atrocities against the people of occupied Kashmir.

The foreign minister said that the Kashmiri people in the occupied territory as a national, ethnic, racial and religious group of people face grave threats to their lives, way of living and livelihoods from a murderous, misogynistic, and xenophobic regime. This is the true face of the so-called largest democracy of the world, he said.

FM Qureshi said that India's unilateral actions of August 5 of altering the status of occupied Kashmir recognised as a disputed territory by the UN Security Council, are illegal under international law.

He said India's assertion that these actions are its internal affair is patently false. Qureshi added that Kashmir has been on the agenda of the United Nations for over 70 years now. The meeting of the Security Council on 16th August, to discuss the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, is an attestation of this fact.

“India's efforts to hide its atrocities by falsely labeling freedom movement in occupied Kashmir terrorism and cross border terrorism are shameless and indefensible,” the foreign minister said.

FM Qureshi warned India can once again resort to false-flag operations, and use the bogey of terrorism as a red herring, to divert international attention from atrocities in IOK.

Referring to increased Line of Control (LoC) violations, Qureshi said New Delhi has used cluster ammunition and heavy artillery on the line of control in flagrant disregard of fundamental norms of international humanitarian law.

This, he said, must end immediately. FM Qureshi said that the reckless posture and draconian measures by India pose a grave threat to peace and security in nuclearised South Asia.