Pakistan on Tuesday told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, that it must not remain “indifferent” to the situation in Kashmir after India revoked the state’s special status on August 5, PTI reported.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who lead the delegation from Islamabad, said at the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council that the UN rights body should not be embarrassed on the world stage by its inaction over the Kashmir dispute.
India will address the council after Pakistan. The Indian delegation is led Ajay Bisaria, the high commissioner who was expelled by Pakistan after New Delhi’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. Secretary East, Ministry of External Affairs Vijay Thakur will also lead the delegation along with Bisaria.
“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,” Qureshi said.
“We must not allow this august body to be embarrassed on the world stage,” the foreign minister said. “As a founding member of this Council, Pakistan feels morally and ethically bound to prevent this from occurring.”
He said UN Human Rights Council must act decisively and with conviction.
He also asked the council to urge India to constitute a commission of inquiry and allow unhindered access to human rights organisations and the international media to Kashmir. Qureshi said this was required to fulfill obligations under the United Nations Security Council Resolutions and various human rights instruments, as required by international law.
The minister said the basic amenities and means of communication were not accessible to the people of Kashmir, and even shops and hospitals in the region were running out of supplies and the political leaders of the state have been placed under house arrest or imprisoned.
He said India’s unilateral decision to revoke Article 370 last month was illegal under international law.
Earlier in the day, the Ministry of External Affairs rejected the reference to Jammu and Kashmir in the joint statement issued after Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Pakistan.
On Monday, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet raised concerns about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. She had also asked New Delhi and Islamabad to ensure that the human rights of the people of Kashmir were respected and protected. Bachelet’s statement was welcomed by Qureshi and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who called for an independent investigation commission to look into human rights violations in the region. “The time to act is now,” Khan had tweeted.
India and Pakistan have witnessed a massive escalation in tension ever since Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was revoked on August 5. Pakistan, which has fought three wars with India for Kashmir since Independence, has not taken the decision well.
While New Delhi has repeatedly said that its decisions with regard to the region are an internal matter, Pakistan has threatened to take up the matter on several international forums. Last week, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said most countries viewed the Kashmir matter the same way.
Islamabad’s continued efforts for an international intervention in the Kashmir dispute also led to a rare closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council. This was the first time in over 50 years that the UN Security Council had a meeting exclusively to discuss the Kashmir matter, but it ended without any outcome.
India has reached out to 47 members of the United Nations Human Rights Council to gain support for its stand on Kashmir.
Meanwhile, United States President Donald Trump, on Monday, reiterated his offer to help India and Pakistan resolve the Kashmir dispute. He had offered to mediate in the Kashmir matter two other times.
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