India on Tuesday told Pakistan at the 43rd United Nations Human Rights Council session in Geneva, Switzerland, that it should exercise “good neighbourliness” and practise tolerance towards its minority communities. Ministry of External Affairs First Secretary Vimarsh Aryan made the remarks while exercising India’s Right to Reply to what he described as a “mendacious statement” made by Pakistan on the Kashmir matter.

Pakistan had on Monday, in reply to India’s first statement, claimed that while India calls itself a democratic state, it “hides behind the iron curtain imposed on Jammu and Kashmir under which it carries out human rights abuses”. “On the metrics of rule of law, democracy and human rights, Indian track record is abysmal,” said Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Khalil Hashmi.

Pakistan reiterated that the Kashmiri population was not consulted before India withdrew the special status of the erstwhile state under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. On August 5, the Indian government split the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories and rescinded its special status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.

It added that many UN Security Council Resolutions have said that “Indian-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir” is a disputed territory. “It is high time India acts like a democracy, and not indulge in diversionary tactics to shield itself from the human rights crisis that it has unleashed in IOJ&K,” Hashmi said.

On Tuesday, India accused Pakistan of using its membership of the Human Rights Council to propagate an “illegal, immoral and inhuman territorial ambition”, in a reference to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. India told the world body that Pakistan has ignored the Vienna Convention and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, which state that the principle of self-determination must not be used as a garb to carry out activities detrimental to the territorial integrity of neighbouring countries.

“This epicentre of global terrorism very irresponsibly harps on self-determination of the already democratic Jammu and Kashmir,” Aryan told the council. “We are witnessing in Pakistan unabated torture, maiming and systematic persecution of religious minorities. Attacks on a Hindu funeral procession and a Christian church days ago in Sindh and Punjab provinces portray the horrific plight of various minorities in Pakistan.”

Aryan told the UN Human Rights Council that former presidents and prime ministers of Pakistan, as well as current Prime Minister Imran Khan, have admitted that their state machinery supports terrorist organisations proscribed by the world body.

On Monday, First Secretary of India’s Permanent Mission, Geneva, Senthil Kumar, accused the neighbouring country of misusing the council and its mechanism for establishing its “narrow political agenda” against India. “It’s unfortunate that Pakistan continues to maintain its track record of misuse of the Human Rights Council and its mechanism,” Kumar said. “It’s a matter of serious concern that Pakistan being the only country in South Asia of effecting a state-sponsored genocide would have the audacity to accuse others of it.”

He added that India’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status last year did not have any “external ramifications”. Aryan reiterated that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and that Pakistan should not “covet” it.