International News

Kashmir is not PoK, India says in response to UN asking for unfettered access to region along LoC

The foreign ministry said Pakistan-occupied Kashmir was run by an 'arbitrarily appointed' diplomat and had become a hub for the global export of terror.

The Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday responded to the United Nation's request for unfettered access to territory along the Line of Control and its statement that Pakistan had invited a UN team to its border areas, and said that Kashmir cannot be compared with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. A statement from the ministry said the ongoing violence in Kashmir was caused by "the death of a self-acknowledged commander of the terrorist organisation, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, who was wanted for several terrorist acts. It was further aggravated by sustained cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan."

The statement added that Kashmir's was "a democratically elected Government, while the latter has seen a Pakistani diplomat arbitrarily appointed as its head. The Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is part of a pluralistic and secular democracy." It went on to say that PoK had "become a hub for the global export of terror".

Earlier on Tuesday, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights had directed India and Pakistan to give the body unfettered access to their Line of Control territories, which will help facilitate its objective study of the Kashmir unrest. PTI reported that High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein announced this request at the 33rd meeting of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

He said, "We had previously received reports, and still continue to do so, claiming that Indian authorities had used force excessively against the civilian population under its administration. We furthermore received conflicting narratives from the two sides as to the cause for the confrontations and the reported large numbers of people killed and wounded."

The UN official said he believe an impartial mission was the need of the hour and that Islamabad had recently issued a formal invitation to his team to visit its Line of Control area on the condition that the inspection is held simultaneously on the Indian side of the border.

The news agency reported that Pakistan's Foreign Office had welcomed Zeid Ra'ad's announcement and said, "The visit by the OHCHR team would help end the culture of impunity which is prevailing for more than 68 years, in violation of international law and UN Security Council resolutions." Islamabad also urged India to comply with the UN official's request.

The ongoing crisis in the state began after Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed on July 8. Thousands of people have been affected by violence and the shutdown of normal life in the state, where protests have lasted for more than two months. The situation has also led to a deterioration in ties between India and Pakistan as India alleges Islamabad's influence in the issue, and Pakistan has called for plebiscites in the region.

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