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At UN meet, Pakistan seeks end of restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir

Sep 10, 2019

Pakistan on Tuesday asked the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to ensure that India ends the restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir and restores fundamental rights and liberties in the region.

Foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi outlined Pakistan’s position while speaking at the UNHRC session in Geneva against the backdrop of tensions with India over the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5.

India has described the changes in Kashmir as an internal matter and said Pakistan has no locus standi in the matter.

Describing the situation in Jammu and Kashmir as a “looming catastrophe”, Qureshi said the UNHRC should ensure that New Delhi stop the use of pellet guns by Indian security forces, ends the “curfew” and restores fundamental rights and liberties, releases political prisoners and ends the “bloodshed” in the region.

Qureshi said India should also take steps to punish those who violate the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and allow the UNHRC to monitor alleged rights violations in the region. He also called for human rights organisations and international media to be give unhindered access to Jammu and Kashmir.

He said he had brought the “plea and petition” of the Kashmiri people, “whose inalienable rights are being trampled by India”, to the UNHRC and claimed they were “caged by an illegal military occupation”. He also claimed India had deployed a million troops in the region.

Qureshi contended Jammu and Kashmir had become the “largest prison on this planet” and that shops were running short of supplies and hospitals of medicines. He said the political leadership of all shades was under house arrest and that thousands had been allegedly arrested without due process of law.

Citing reports by the international media, Qureshi said pellet gun victims were reluctant to go to hospital “due to fears of intimidation” and that India’s actions represent clear breaches of multiple international instruments that the country is party to.

He said the “root of the mayhem” is India’s refusal to grant the people of Jammu and Kashmir the right to self-determination and the situation in the region should be a matter of “direct international concern”.

Qureshi further alleged that India could resort to a “false flag operation”, the “bogey of terrorism” or “even attack Pakistan” to divert international attention from the situation in Kashmir.

India has sent a delegation headed by a secretary from the external affairs ministry that is expected to make a statement on behalf of the country and also exercise the “right of reply” to respond to Qureshi’s remarks.

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