ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday urged the international community, the United Nations in particular, to shed its ‘passive attitude’ towards grave violations of human rights in Indian Kashmir, where more than 40 people have been killed in week-long violence.
As part of its diplomatic push, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz sent letters to the UN secretary general, president of the Security Council, and the head of the world body’s Human Rights Council, urging them to intervene to stop bloodshed in the violence-stricken Himalayan region.
“In these times of democracy and accountability, the international community, led by the UN, cannot remain passive to the callous behaviour and grave violations of human rights by India in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir over the last many decades,” Aziz wrote in his letters.
The initiative is part of Pakistan’s proactive diplomacy to highlight the suffering of Kashmiris at the hands of Indian security forces after the violence erupted in the disputed region in the wake of killing of prominent Kashmiri leader Bhurhan Wani.
The content of the letters released by the Foreign Office said the adviser drew the UN’s attention to the “brutal killings of innocent civilians and grave violations of the fundamental human rights of the Kashmiris by the occupying Indian security forces.” Aziz recalled that the UN had a special and permanent responsibility with regard to the Kashmir dispute, which remains on the agenda of the Security Council and was yet to be resolved in accordance with its relevant resolutions.
“The current situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir is in fact the result of the continued denial by India of the right to self-determination to the Kashmiri people through a free and fair plebiscite under the UN auspices that was assured by the UN in its multiple resolutions,” he wrote.
The adviser noted that non-resolution of the Kashmir dispute was a constant source of tension and instability in the region, and a threat to international peace and security.
“Lack of progress in finding a durable solution to the Kashmir question in accordance with the UN resolutions, and the continuing violations of human rights in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and lack of accountability thereof, have led to feeling of frustration and resentment especially among the new generation of Kashmiris who are increasingly adding their voice to the decades long Kashmiri indigenous movement for self-determination.”
“India can no longer be in denial of these facts by terming the situation as its internal matter, a position that had no standing whatsoever, in view of the internationally recognized disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir as also reflected in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” the letters noted.
The adviser urged that New Delhi should be called upon to stop killing of innocent civilians and to cease its repressive policies and human rights violations in Indian Kashmir. He underlined that as a concerned party, Pakistan remains committed to peacefully resolving the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council.
“Pakistan will continue to extend its moral and diplomatic support for realisation of the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said. He maintained that Pakistan had also always welcomed the role and initiatives of the UN secretary general to facilitate the resolution of the Kashmir question and we will continue to support such efforts in future.
In his letter to the high commissioner of the UN Human Rights Council, Aziz said Indian security forces were trampling the fundamental freedoms of the Kashmiri people with complete impunity. “Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing yet another brutal bloodbath at the hands of the Indian occupation forces,” he said. “The absolute absence of accountability and justice to address the abuses committed by the Indian security forces has invoked a sharp reaction from all segments of the Kashmiri society,” he added, requesting the UNHRC chief to look into the rights violations and intervene to end the terrible atrocities.
In a separate letter to the OIC chief, the adviser recalled that the organisation had always taken a strong position on the Kashmir issue and shown solidarity with Kashmiris. “Pakistan hopes for continued support of the OIC towards the just struggle of the Kashmiris for their right of self-determination, and lauded the initiatives taken in furthering cooperation among the members of the OIC especially for the OIC’s solidarity with the Kashmiri people,” he said.
Meanwhile, the FO briefed ambassadors from African and Middle Eastern countries about the current situation in Kashmir on Friday. The envoys were informed that due to the use of lethal force by Indian forces, more than 40 civilians have lost their lives whereas 2,000 have been injured, 400 of whom are critical. FO urged the international community to raise its voice against the blatant human rights violations of innocent Kashmiri Muslims in Indian Kashmir.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 16th, 2016.