Pakistan asks UN to probe threat of ‘genocide’ in Kashmir

Shah Mehmood Qureshi

Geneva, Sep 10 : Raising the threat of genocide looming over Kashmir, Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday asked the UN to launch an investigation into the situation in Jammu and Kashmir .

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, who is leading a Pakistan delegation at the United Nations Human Rights Council session in Geneva addressed the mediapersons and questioned “why the international media and international organisations are not allowed into the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir to cover  and see shows that there is threat of a genocide looming over the region.”

Pakistan referred to Jammu and Kashmir as “India Administered Kashmir”.
“India is trying to give an impression to the world that life has returned to normalcy. If the life has returned to normalcy, then I say, why don’t they allow you, the international media, why don’t they allow the international organisations, the NGOs, civil society organisations to go into the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and see for themselves what the reality is,”  Qureshi told reporters .

He further rejected any possibility of a bilateral engagement with India’

Addressing the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Qureshi cautioned the human rights body against remaining “indifferent” to the situation in Kashmir after India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, saying it is the repository of the world’s conscience on human rights.

Pakistan’s foreign minister also said that the top UN rights body should not be embarrassed on the world stage by its inaction over the issue.

“Today, I have knocked on the doors of the Human Rights Council, the repository of the world’s conscience on human rights, to seek justice and respect for the people of Kashmir,” he said.

“We must not allow this august body to be embarrassed on the world stage. As a founding member of this Council, Pakistan feels morally and ethically bound to prevent this from occurring,” he said, adding that in order to do so the body should not remain indifferent to the situation that was unfolding. “We must act decisively and with conviction,” he said.

“I shudder to use the word genocide here, but I must”, Qureshi said, while calling upon the UN body to take action.

Pakistan on Tuesday submitted a 115-page “dossier” to the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) in which 35 pages have been devoted to history and the current situation in Kashmir. The rest 80 pages as a part of evidence substantiating the things mentioned in the form of an annexure including photographs of some funerals, protests and apprehension of separatist leaders like Yasin Malik.

Qureshi asked the Council to urge India to immediately stop the use of pellet guns, lift the curfew, reverse the clampdown and communications blackout, restore fundamental freedoms and liberties, release political prisoners and fulfil obligations under the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and various human rights instruments, as required by international law.

He asked the Council to constitute a commission of inquiry into the situation in Kashmir, as recommended by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Qureshi said that the Kashmiri people were denied the “basic and inalienable human rights” and added that basic amenities and means of communication were not accessible to the people of Kashmir.

He alleged that India’s actions violated multiple international human rights instruments that it was a party to and reiterated that India’s unilateral decision to revoke Article 370 on August 5 was illegal under international law.

This humble compilation based on scantily available information from IOJK till 25 August 2019 merits widest circulation leading to a strong global pressure on the Government of India to abide by United Nations Security Council Resolutions and fulfilling its own decades-old promises such as, made by India’s first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in January 1952,” the Pakistani document says.

It alleges that “India is using diversionary tactics, disinformation and obfuscation of facts and events to create a smokescreen over violation of basic human rights of people in IOJK”.

Pakistan, in the document, claims that the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was abolished because the RSS wants to change the demography there.

“Desperate under the influence of Rashtriya Swayam Sewaksangh (RSS)/Hindu fundamentalists to change the demography of IOJK and strengthen the hold of central government in Kashmir affairs. In order to materialize these ambitions; India has recently abrogated Article 370 of Indian Constitution which gives special status to IOJK in all matters except communications, defence and foreign affairs, and Article 35 A which gave IOJK legislature the power to define the state’s permanent residents,” the document says.

It says India is using its economic and diplomatic strength to promote its stance on Kashmir and has made Hurriyat leadership “totally irrelevant” with a “view to permanently sideline them”.

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