ISLAMABAD: Amid heightened tensions between Pakistan and India, Islamabad has reached out to the United Nations to immediately take notice of the deteriorating situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and urge India to halt human rights abuses and cross border firing along the Line of Control (LoC).
In a letter written to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on August 1, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also sought the global watchdog’s influence in putting an end to any Indian action that could bring about a material change in the situation on ground, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu and and Kashmir.
Qureshi reiterated Islamabad’s call to establish a UN Fact Finding Mission to visit IOK to assess the on-ground situation, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Office on Monday.
Pakistan rejects India’s decision to abolish occupied Kashmir special status
“Pakistan also supports the OHCHR’s recommendation for establishment of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate into the gross human rights violations [being committed by the Indian occupation forces],” he added.
The foreign minister also urged the top international body to appoint a UN Special Representative on Jammu and Kashmir.
The letter was written days before the Indian government revoked Article 370 and scrapped the special status for disputed Kashmir through a presidential decree. New Delhi also imposed a major security clampdown in the region.
Islamabad strongly condemned and ‘rejected’ the Modi government’s controversial move and summoned the Indian High Commissioner to the Foreign Office and conveyed a strong démarche on today’s development.
The United Nations urged the two countries to “exercise maximum restraint” amid escalating tensions along the Line of Control (LoC).
Qureshi, in his August 1 letter which was also addressed to the presidents of Security Council and General Assembly, had feared that owing to its recent steps, India was preparing to scrap the Article 370 of its Constitution, which predefines the residents of IOK and limits subjects like property ownership and state citizenship to the current residents of the area.
Kashmir flare-up: UN urges Pakistan, India to 'exercise maximum restraint'
“Pakistan has consistently opposed any steps that seek to alter the demographic structure of IOK since they can materially affect the plebiscite arrangements to be held under the UN auspices. These Indian moves are also a clear breach of the UN Security Council Resolutions on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, particularly with regard to realisation of the right to self-determination of the Kashmiris. This is an old Indian ploy to which we had drawn your attention through Pakistan’s earlier letter dated April 27, 2017.”
Qureshi feared that the recent developments entailed grave dangers to regional peace and security in South Asia.
The foreign minister, in his letter, also cited the second report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on gross human rights violations in IOK, released last month. “This latest report documents, extensively and independently, the full range of atrocities – killing of civilians including in custody, blinding of young Kashmiris including children through the use of pellet guns and the use of rape, torture and enforced disappearances as tools of state suppression,” he wrote.
He also drew the UN chief’s attention to UNSC Resolution 38, which calls upon Pakistan and India ‘to inform the Council immediately of any material change in the situation which occurs or appears to either of them to be about to occur while the matter is under consideration by the Council, and consult with the Council thereon’.
“Pakistan is of the view that the steps being taken by India, as outlined above, have the real potential to further lead to the deteriorating human rights situation in IOK as well as carry serious implications for peace and security in South Asia.”
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