India on Monday urged the United Nations Human Rights Council to pay urgent attention to Pakistan’s “deplorable” human rights record and its discriminatory treatment of minority groups.

Pawan Badhe, the first secretary at India’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, said Pakistan must be held accountable for its grave, “state-sponsored” violation of human rights. He also criticised Pakistan for its “malicious and fallacious” propaganda against India.

Badhe claimed that there had been thousands of enforced disappearances in Pakistan. “According to victim groups, tens of thousands of persons have disappeared from Balochistan since the year 2000,” he said. “Families of persons who have disappeared continue to struggle for their voices to be heard. Hundreds of supporters of these families held a 10-day sit-in protest in Islamabad last month. Balochistan has now come to known as the “land of the disappeared””.

The official also flagged to the UN that there had been an “alarming increase” in blasphemy accusations under Pakistan’s draconian laws. He spoke about an incident involving a 12-year-old girl who was allegedly forced to marry the man who abducted her. “This case is emblematic of the discrimination faced by Christians, Hindus and other minorities in Pakistan,” Badhe said.

“In September 2020, over 30,000 people gathered in Karachi, demanding that Shia Muslims be declared heretics and ‘blasphemers’ and, calling for their beheading,” the official added. “The killing of 11 coal miners of the Shia Hazara community, in January this year, is the latest in the series of acts of violence against the Shia community to which they have been subjected in Pakistan.”

Badhe claimed that the media in Pakistan was scared of highlighting the abuses of the government and militants. “A Pakistani minister had said people who speak against Pakistan Army “should have their tongues ripped out from their throats”,” he added. India also alleged that activists in Pakistan were being targeted and charged under draconian laws.

The UN official added that Pakistan should stop preaching to others and focus on the responsibility it has towards millions of people suffering in the country.

India has repeatedly called on Pakistan to stop state-sponsored cross-border terrorism and put an end to its alleged institutionalised violation of human rights.

Last month, India had 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 UNHRC.

In January, New Delhi had said that Islamabad did not deserve to be a co-sponsor to a United Nations resolution for promoting the protection of religious sites, as the country had allegedly “explicitly supported” a mob that set on fire and demolished a Hindu temple in December. New Delhi alleged that Islamabad’s agencies remained “mute spectators” while the temple was being razed.