ISLAMABAD: A special envoy of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday met heads of the UN Human Rights Council and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Geneva to brief them on the current situation in the India-held Kashmir.
The Geneva visit of Sardar Awais Khan Leghari, also chairman of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs of the National Assembly, is part of the government’s diplomatic efforts to sensitise the world community about the sufferings of Kashmiris at the hands of Indian forces.
At least 90 Kashmiris have so far been killed and around 10,000 injured since July 8 when protests broke out in the valley after the killing of a prominent Kashmiri leader Bhurhan Wani.
Pakistan has not only strongly condemned the atrocities but also taken the issue to international forums, something that has invited a strong reaction from India. The unrest in Kashmir has further deteriorated the already strained ties between Pakistan and India.
The government has appointed two dozen members of parliament as the PM’s special envoys to visit different world capitals in order to persuade the international community to stop bloodshed in the disputed Himalayan valley.
A statement issued by the foreign office said Leghari met the presidents of the Human Rights Council, and the ICRC as well as other ambassadors to brief them about the atrocities being committed by the Indian occupation forces on the defenceless people of Kashmir.
“The alarming impact of pellet gun injuries leading to ‘dead eyes’ phenomenon on the peaceful protesters was also highlighted,” the statement added. The use of ‘non-lethal’ pellet guns by Indian forces has resulted in extensive injuries to Kashmiris, including children and young people.
Leghari emphasised the importance of implementing the UN Security Council resolutions that recognise Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory and call for a free and fair plebiscite for the realisation of the right to self-determination of Kashmiris.
The Foreign Affairs Committee chairman referred to the prime minister’s letters addressed to the UN secretary general and the high commissioner for human rights to stop the grievous brutalities of Indian forces and to investigate the excesses committed against the people of occupied Kashmir.
The special envoy of the prime minister would continue to meet important dignitaries in Geneva and apprise them of the plight of the helpless Kashmiris, who demand of the international community to end the terror and violence being unleashed on them.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th, 2016.