India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ajit Kumar, on Wednesday broached the issue of human rights violations in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir during the 33rd session of the organisation's Human Rights Council. Kumar told ANI that he also raised the issued Islamabad deploying militants across the border into India and using children as shields during his address. He reiterated India's stand on Jammu and Kashmir being an important part of India. Kumar said, “What remains is vacation of illegal territory occupied by Pakistan."
Kumar added, “Pakistan has been characterised by authoritarianism, absence of democratic norms and widespread human rights violations across the country including Balochistan”, and said Pakistan should focus its energies on improving the human rights situation in PoK and its country.
His statements follow India's Ministry of External Affairs rejecting a plea by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to have unfettered access to both sides of the Line of Control. Pakistan responded to the UN office's request with an invitation, on the condition that an inspection of India's side of the LoC be done simultaneously. The Ministry of External Affairs declined the request on the grounds that Kashmir was a democratically-governed territory "unlike Pakistan-occupied Kashmir".
While praising the efforts taken by the UN high commissioner for human rights, Kumar said India was concerned about ambiguities in the international body's "governance and administrative arrangements". Kumar told the council that India decided to reject the plea after an all-party consultation which agreed that Kashmir was a domestic issue, The Indian Express reported. The ministry's statement accused Pakistan of being a "hub for the global export of terror”.
Meanwhile, Khurram Pervez, coordinator of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, alleged Delhi immigration officials stopped him from boarding a flight to Switzerland on Wednesday, where he was scheduled to make a statement at the Human Rights Council on the situation in the troubled state, AFP reported. Pervez was reportedly told that he was barred from travelling to Geneva on account of a directive from the Intelligence Bureau.
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 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.