At UNHRC, Pakistan demands international investigation into Kashmir situation

India has sent a team of senior officials, including envoy Ajay Bisaria, who was expelled by Pakistan, to frame the government’s response during the UNHRC deliberations on the Kashmir issue.

Pakistan Tuesday raked up the issue of Jammu and Kashmir at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, asking it not to remain “indifferent” to the situation and demanded an international investigation by the rights body into the situation in Kashmir.

“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,” Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said while addressing the 42nd session of UNHRC.

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.

“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,” he said.

India has sent a team of senior officials, including envoy Ajay Bisaria, who was expelled by Pakistan, to frame the government’s response during the UNHRC deliberations on the issue.

Tensions between the two countries escalated after the move by the Indian government to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 and bifurcate into two union territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. Weeks after the revocation on August 5, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) held a closed-door meeting after Pakistan, backed by its all-weather ally China, requested “closed consultations” on the issue.

While Pakistan has sought to internationalise the issue, India has maintained that Kashmir is an internal matter. New Delhi on Tuesday also rejected a reference to Kashmir in a joint statement by Pakistan and China, reiterating J&K is an integral part of India

On Monday, US President Donald Trump reiterated his offer to help the two South-Asian neighbours ease the situation. The comments by Trump were his first since his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the G7 summit in France on August 26 where Modi had made it clear that all issues with Pakistan are bilateral, and India doesn’t bother any other country about them.

The same day, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Kashmir: “I am deeply concerned about the impact of recent actions by the Government of India on the human rights of Kashmiris, including restrictions on Internet communication and peaceful assembly, and the detention of local political leaders and activists.”

Pakistan has cited the UN human rights chief’s concerns over the situation in Kashmir as being consistent with the stance of the world body.

“The UN High Commissioner’s concerns and calls are consistent with the position taken by the UN system vis-a-vis the human rights situation in Kashmir including the continuing restrictions and crackdown on fundamental rights and freedoms of the Kashmiri people,” the Pakistan Foreign Office said.

Meanwhile, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has contacted his counterparts in 45 member states (excluding Pakistan and India) and Indian diplomats in various capitals and the Permanent Mission to UN have also been working overtime to lobby with the representatives of these countries on the matter.

Source: The Indian Express

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