New Delhi: Pakistan on Tuesday demanded that the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) set up a commission to inquire into what it termed as instances of “Indian brutality" and “gross violations of human rights" in Jammu and Kashmir since the revocation of the special status granted to the region.
This could be seen as another attempt by Islamabad to internationalise the Kashmir issue, and comes ahead of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s scheduled address to the UN General Assembly in New York on 27 September.
In his address the UNHRC, Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, leading the Pakistani delegation to the 9-27 September session of the UN body, also sought focussed discussion on what he termed were Indian atrocities in Kashmir, calling on the international community to “address the warning signs of a looming catastrophe."
Qureshi’s speech was along expected lines, given that Pakistan has pledged to raise the issue of what they call “alleged human rights atrocities" at all international events and platforms. It had succeeded, with the help of China, to get the UN Security Council to discuss the matter informally but the UN body did not pass any resolution which was seen as Islamabad’s failure to embarrass India on the matter.
Tensions between the two neighbous escalated after India, early last month, abrogated section 370 of its constitution and integrated Kashmir with the country. New Delhi on its part has said Kashmir was an internal matter and the decision will not be reversed.
Qureshi dismissed India’s claim that the revocation of special status to Kashmir was an internal matter, saying that the UN Security Council taking it up for informal discussion on 16 August proved that Kashmir was an international issue.
“India’s draconian emergency laws cannot be allowed to stand," Qureshi said referring to the restrictions put in place by India just days ahead of the 5-6 August move to revoke the special status of Kashmir. These included severing of communication links, putting the state under a lockdown, and arrests of more than 6,000 political workers and activists without access to due processes of law.
“This barbarism is happening in the 21st century," Qureshi said, adding that it exposed the “true face of largest democracy in the world" which had aspirations of becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Citing the massacre of people in Rwanda and Srebrenica, Qureshi said he expected the worst and added that he shuddered to use the word genocide for what was happening in Kashmir.
He demanded unfettered access for the UNHCR’s Commission of Inquiry during its visit Kashmir.
Meanwhile, in a related development, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi met the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to highlight the Kashmir issue. “@LodhiMaleeha urges #UN chief @antonioguterres to urgently take steps to deal with worsening situation in Indian #OccupiedKashmir," Lodhi said in a Twitter post after the meeting.