Islamabad: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Saturday wrote a letter to UN High Commissioner for the Human Rights on the increasing human rights violations in Kashmir.
In his letter,, Qureshi said: “I am writing to follow up on my letter dated 16 December 2018 regarding the deteriorating human rights situation in the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOK).”
The attack in Pulwama on Indian paramilitary personnel on 14 February 2019 needs to be seen in an objective manner. That Indian Government chose to immediately externalize blame for this attack, without investigations, fits a known policy approach. Such an approach is clearly manifest in its attempts to a) divert global attention from the continuing grave human rights and international humanitarian law violations in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and b) brand those seeking to safeguard their legitimate political and human rights including the right to self-determination as “terrorists”.
“I wish to underscore that Jammu and Kashmir is an internationally recognized disputed territory, which India continues to occupy in violation of international law. The issue of Jammu and Kashmir remains an outstanding item on the agenda of UN Security Council. India continues to demonstrate its non-compliance with several Security Council resolutions on this subject,” he added.
The troubling situation in Jammu and Kashmir also warrants attention from the international humanitarian law perspective, especially the four Geneva Conventions. Given the active nature of armed conflict in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, it is imperative to impress upon India to faithfully adhere to its obligations under the Conventions to which it is a party, he wrote.
By a conservative estimate, more than 100,000 Kashmiris have died in their quest to achieve freedom from the Indian occupation. Kashmiris have been tortured, maimed or summarily executed by the Indian occupying forces. There are known allegations of sexual violence against Kashmiri women. As a result, there is hardly any individual in the IOK who hasn’t lost a loved one, a friend, or a close a relative since the Kashmiris launched their indigenous struggle in 1989.
The widespread repression by more than 700,000 Indian security personnel deployed in the IOK have alienated Kashmiris particularly the youth. The Pulwama attack, by India’s own accounts, was carried out by a young Kashmiri, who had been under Indian captivity. The causes of extreme discontentment and resulting violence are not hard to find.
I am constrained to add that in the aftermath of Pulwama tragedy, the human rights situation in IOK in particular and in India as whole are now turning from bad to worse. As if the use of pellet guns against Kashmiri protestors, the outright refusal by India to initiate political dialogue with the Kashmiris and Pakistan, ongoing “shoot to kill” orders against Kashmiris, were not enough, there is now a concerted campaign to whip up hatred and violence against Kashmiris and discrimination against them across India.
The Indian Government is leveraging this tragedy for electrical gains in the forthcoming general elections, and in that process, it is constricting space for a political dialogue and negotiations with both the Kashmiris and Pakistan. Even more worryingly, the Indian Government has chosen to remain silent in the wake of most appalling acts of violence against Kashmiris, perpetrated by extremist elements.
Pakistan welcomes the call made earlier this week on India by the European Parliament’s Sub-Committee on Human Rights to end its atrocities in the occupied Kashmir. These growing voices of concern against the well entrenched India regime of human rights violations are consistent with the reports of your office last June as well as that of the All Parties Parliamentary Group of the UK in 2018.
I welcome the concerns expressed by you on 19 February on the use of Pulwama attack by such elements as justification for threats and violence against Kashmiris and Muslims in various parts of India. While we fully share these concerns, we would request you to continue monitoring of the situation and call for protecting people from all forms of harm on account of their identity and ethnicity.
“I would also urge you to issue a call on India to allow unhindered access to UN mechanisms and yourself to IOK. India must also be obliged to comply with its international humanitarian law obligations with respect to IoK,” the FM said