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Pakistan wants Kashmir abuses probed

Photo by the Pakistan Today. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

ISLAMABAD, Jul 9, 2019, Pakistan Today. Pakistan on Monday welcomed the United Nations report on human rights abuses in Kashmir, reiterating the demand for the formation of a commission to investigate the rights violations by the Indian troops in the occupied region, reported the Pakistan Today.

In a statement issued by the Foreign Office, Islamabad urged respect for the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination as protected under international law.

“We again welcome the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recommendation for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate the gross and systematic human rights violations in Indian-occupied Kashmir,” said the FO.

The report also criticised Pakistan authorities for rights violations in Azad Jammu Kashmir, to which Pakistan cautioned that there are no parallel between human rights violations in Kashmir and the prevailing environment in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

“Unlike occupied Kashmir, which is the most militarized zone in the world, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan remain open to foreign visitors,” the FO statement mentioned.

“The only solution to the Kashmir dispute is to grant the people the legitimate right to self-determination as recognized by the numerous United Nations Security Council Resolutions, which is essential for the security and stability of South Asia and beyond,” it said.

The report once again recognized human rights violations in occupied Kashmir.

The report documents in detail the excessive use of force by the Indian occupation forces, continued use of pellet guns to kill and maim defenceless civilians, extra-judicial killings under the garb of so-called cordon and search operations, use of various forms of arbitrary arrests and detentions to target protestors and political dissidents.

It also highlights the impunity from accountability enjoyed by the Indian occupation forces under the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Public Safety Act (PSA), use of torture, lack of credible investigation into human rights violations perpetrated by the Indian occupation forces, restrictions on expression and movement of independent journalists.

Given the alleged failure of both states to address the issues raised, the updated report calls on the UN Human Rights Council to again consider undertaking “a comprehensive, independent international investigation into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir”.

The rights office shared the report with both countries last month.

According to the UN, India requested the report not be published and dismissed the findings as “fallacious, tendentious and [politically] motivated” — similar wording to New Delhi’s rejection of the 2018 report.

Pakistan again “welcomed the report”, the rights office said.

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