Pakistan on Tuesday appealed to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the immediate lifting of the communication blockade, and the release of political leaders and activists, in Jammu and Kashmir. Speaking at the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council in Switzerland, the country said any kind of inaction by the international community will only “embolden” India.
Jammu and Kashmir has been in partial lockdown since August 5, when the Centre revoked special status to the state under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and split it into two union territories. Several major political leaders were put under house arrest, and communication systems were blocked.
Demanding that all actions taken by the Indian government since August 5 be repealed, Pakistan Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari alleged that India continues to violate the human rights of the Kashmiri people. She alleged that “over six thousand Kashmiri people, activists... were arrested without the due process of law” and demanded their immediate release.
Recently, the Jammu and Kashmir administration booked several Kashmiri politicians under the Public Safety Act. The Act allows the accused to be detained without trial for three months, a period which can be extended. Former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, National Conference leader Hilal Lone, Peoples Democratic Party leader Naeem Akhtar have all been detained under the Act in recent weeks.
The Pakistani minister added that any “inaction” by the international community and the council will only “embolden” India to act with impunity.
On Monday the Jammu and Kashmir administration extended the ban on high speed 3G and 4G internet services till March 4. Last week, the administration had said the ban will continue till February 24, and whitelisted 1,485 websites for access in the region.
Mobile 2G internet services were restored in a limited way for both prepaid and postpaid connections after over five months on January 25. However, this access was provided to only 301 “whitelisted” websites. The administration has been gradually increasing the number of whitelisted websites for access in the region.
Eleven days after Parliament revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, the United Nations Security Council conducted the first closed-door meeting even as India reiterated that Kashmir was an internal matter. It was the first time in over 50 years that the UN Security Council held a meeting exclusively to discuss Kashmir.
Pakistan had then claimed that it was not its “last step” with regard to Kashmir. After the meeting, China said members of the Security Council had voiced deep concerns about the situation in the region, and hoped that the “relevant parties will exercise restraint and refrain from taking unilateral actions”. It also called upon the two countries to resolve the matter through dialogue.
However, the Narendra Modi government has repeatedly faced global pressure to restore normalcy in the Valley. On October 25, the United States asked India to provide a road map for the restoration of normalcy in the region, including the immediate release of all political detainees.