ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Saturday welcomed the public hearing by Tom Lantos Human Rights
Commission of the US Congress on human rights situation in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) wherein the lawmakers called for an independent fact-finding mission to the occupied region.
In its meeting in Washington this week, the commission reinforced the internationally-recognised disputed nature of the Jammu and Kashmir issue and highlighted the gross human rights violations and the humanitarian crisis in IOK.
Held less than a month after the hearing of the Subcommittee on Asia of the US House of Representatives, the Lantos Commission hearing reflected continued international concern over the situation in IOK, the Foreign Office spokesperson said in a statement.
The spokesperson said that Pakistan recognised the efforts of the members of the US Congress who had raised their voices of conscience on the ongoing persecution of the people of IOK and called upon the Indian government to end its brutal repression.
“We appreciate that the US leadership and lawmakers are cognisant of the potential threats to fundamental human rights, freedom of speech, right to self-determination, and peace and stability in the region and are willing to play their due role to help bring the continuing humanitarian nightmare to an end,” he remarked.
He said the general view during the hearing was that the international journalists, independent human rights organisations and the United Nations special rapporteurs should be allowed to visit IOK.
During the hearing, the witnesses also called for immediate lifting of the communications blockade and restoration of human rights in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Overall, it was emphasised that India should not be allowed to continue its oppressive policies and religious and ethnic persecution.
The international community was urged to hold independent investigations into the grave human rights violations in the occupied territory. Importantly, the commission emphasised the need for the US Congress to play an even greater role in urging India to end its repression in IOK.
The spokesperson lauded the courage of the panellists, who became the voice of innocent Kashmiri people, being brutally silenced by India’s communications blockade. The panellists shredded the myth of so-called “largest democracy” and honestly exposed the authoritarian, nationalistic and extremist motivations driving the Indian government’s deplorable and repressive policies.
They also expressed their concern that the persecution of religious minorities in India, especially manifested in the form of anti-conversion legislation, Babri Mosque verdict, National Registration of Citizens (NRC) in Assam as well as mob violence and lynching were fostering a growing sense of fear among the minorities in India.
The Foreign Office spokesperson said that the latest hearing of the Lantos Commission was another illustration of the world community’s serious concern over the unacceptable situation in IOK and the need for addressing it urgently.
“The Indian regime must end its illegal occupation of IOJ&K, stop its state-terrorism in the occupied territories, and allow the exercise of right to self-determination to the Kashmiri people as stipulated by the United Nations Security Council resolutions,” he stated.