Pakistan asks UNHRC to launch international investigation into situation in Kashmir

Addressing the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council here, Foreign Minister Qureshi said the top UN rights body should not be embarrassed on the world stage by its inaction over the issue.

Published: 10th September 2019 04:28 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th September 2019 06:35 PM   |  A+A-

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi makes a statement during the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. (Photo | AP)


GENEVA: Pakistan on Tuesday demanded an international investigation by the UN Human Rights Council into the situation in Kashmir and urged the world rights body not to remain "indifferent" after India revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status.

Addressing the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) here, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, leading the Pakistani delegation, said the top UN rights body should not be embarrassed on the world stage by its inaction over the issue.

He said the UNHRC must not remain indifferent to the situation in Kashmir after India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5.

"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.

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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 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.

"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," Dawn newspaper quoted Qureshi as saying.

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Qureshi, while levelling allegations about the situation prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir also said it had been converted into the "largest prison" with people being denied access to basic amenities.

He spoke about the detention of political leaders of all hues in Kashmir and said the people have been "caged" there over the past six weeks.

India last month abrogated the provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated it into two Union Territories.

India's move evoked strong reactions from Pakistan with its Prime Minister Imran Khan making provocative anti-India rhetoric, which India dubbed as "irresponsible statements".

Qureshi said that the Kashmiri people were denied the "basic and inalienable human rights".

Qureshi said the basic amenities and means of communication were not accessible to the people of Kashmir.

He claimed that shops and hospitals in the region were running out of supplies and the political leadership of Kashmir had been placed under house arrest or imprisoned.

He said that with its actions India was breaching multiple international human rights instruments that it was a party to.

He reiterated that India's unilateral decision to revoke Article 370 on August 5 was illegal under international law.

His statement came a day after UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet expressed "deep concern" over the impact of restrictions in Kashmir, and asked India to ease the current lockdowns to ensure people's access to basic services.

The Indian side, led by Secretary (East) in the External Affairs Ministry Vijay Thakur Singh and expelled Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria will counter Pakistan's propaganda and block any adverse comments by the UNHRC.

India, while asserting that its decision is pure internal in nature, is expected to assert on Tuesday its well-articulated position that restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir were imposed to save human lives. It is expected to cite the record that not a single civilian has died there in the last one month in any police action.

India is also likely to highlight how cross-border terrorism sponsored and nurtured by Pakistan has caused bloodshed and hampered development in Jammu and Kashmir.

(With inputs from IANS)

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