KARACHI: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has conveyed her concerns over the human rights situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K), according the country’s top diplomat in Pakistan.
The rightwing Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked the semi-autonomous constitutional status of IOJ&K on August 5, 2019 and put the disputed region under siege which remains in place ever since.
Speaking to the media at Karachi Press Club during a visit on Tuesday, German Ambassador Dr Bernhard Schlagheck voiced serious concerns over the rights situation in IOJ&K while calling for a peaceful settlement of the historical dispute between Pakistan and India over the Himalayan region.
The Modi government has also introduced the highly divisive Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 which blatantly discriminates against Muslims. The new law has triggered widespread protests across India in which over two dozen protesters have been killed thus far.
'India neither democratic nor a secular state'
Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly warned the international community that Narendra Modi, an RSS ideologue, is following a systematic agenda of turning India into a Hindu state.
The European Union (EU) Parliament – to which Germany is also a member – has decided to debate and vote on a scathing resolution against the revocation of IOJ&K’s autonomous status in clear violation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions. Of 751 members of the EU Parliament, 626 have moved six resolutions on both the issues earlier this week in a move that came ahead of Modi’s visit to Brussels for the India-EU summit in March.
Ambassador Schlagheck noted the marked improvement in security situation in Pakistan, though he said there was much to be desired, especially in the areas along the western border with Afghanistan.
He called for enhancing economic cooperation between Germany and Pakistan. In this context, he referred to a meeting between Chancellor Merkel and Premier Imran on the fringes of the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Responding to a question, the envoy disclosed that Premier Imran was likely to visit Berlin in the near future, while the German chancellor might also travel to Islamabad.
Later, Ambassador Schlagheck, along with First Secretary Dr Martin, visited the MQM-Pakistan head office in Bahadurbad where they met with the party’s leaders, including its convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui.
Issues of mutual interest and the regional situation came up for discussion. Siddiqui briefed the German diplomats on the political activities of his party.
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