India on Wednesday rejected Pakistan’s criticism of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir and said that Islamabad should instead focus on taking credible action to end state-sponsored terrorism.
The response came after Pakistani Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari criticised India at the United Nations Human Rights Council, reported the Hindustan Times. India, in its “right of reply” delivered by Seema Pujani, second secretary in the permanent mission to the UN, said Pakistan is a country with “one of the world’s worst human rights records”. She said that discrimination and persecution of minorities has continued in the neighbouring country unabated.
“The violence, institutionalised discrimination and persecution faced by Pakistan’s minorities, including Christians, Sikhs and Hindus, has continued unabated,” Pujani said. “There have been frequent attacks on the places of worship of minority communities, a grave violation of their right to freedom of religion and belief.”
Speaking on women belonging to the minority community in Pakistan, Pujani said that an estimated 1,000 women are abducted and forcibly converted and married in the country. “Most of these women fall in the age bracket of 16-25 years,” she said, citing a report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. “The fact that young women, and not older men or women, are the main victims of forced conversion is a telling fact about Pakistani society.”
Pujani also pointed out that Pakistan’s misuse of various platforms for “baseless and malicious propaganda against India is not new”.
She said that Pakistan has been the “home and patron to the largest number of internationally proscribed terrorist entities and individuals”, adding that 126 individuals and 24 entities sanctioned by the UN Security Council are associated with the country.
“State-sponsored terrorism by Pakistan is a threat not only to India but to other countries in the region and beyond,” Pujani said. “The recent acquittal of Omar Saeed Sheikh, the al-Qaeda terrorist and murderer of the American journalist Daniel Pearl, by the Pakistani Supreme Court is a clear example of the Pakistani establishment’s nexus with such entities and, as the US secretary of state said, it is ‘an affront to terrorism victims everywhere’.”
On India’s 2019 decision to scrap the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir, Pujani reiterated that the Union Territories, including Ladakh, are an integral and inalienable part of India. “The steps taken...to ensure good governance and development in these Union Territories are our internal matters,” she said.
She pointed out that Pakistan would do well to “put its own house in order, before venturing to point a finger at India”.