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Pakistan takes India to task at UNHRC for massive HR abuses

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has once again laid before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) the ever worsening human rights record of India, putting the spotlight on the deteriorating human rights situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

With its worsening human rights situation, India had become an extremist country where minorities live in constant fear.

During the ongoing 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Pakistan took India to task for its massive human rights abuses and for the disinformation campaign directed against Pakistan. It drew the world’s attention to the New Delhi’s unwillingness to stop its widely reported blatant rights abuses in Occupied Kashmir, severely condemned by the international community.

The Council is meeting in Geneva from 22 February to 19 March at the United Nations Office, an event where Pakistan showed the world the real face of India stifling the voice of Kashmiris.

India has also unleashed a reign of terror against Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Dalits – the low caste Hindus, and the list goes on.

“India has failed and will continue to fail in hiding its brutal repression of Kashmiri people behind the self-serving smokescreen of terrorism,” Junaid Suleman, a Pakistani diplomat, told the Geneva-based Council in the exercise of his right of reply after an Indian representative made oft-repeated allegations about Pakistan’s involvement in terrorism.

“Under the leadership of PM Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and Chief Minister Yogi Adiyanath, the Indian state machinery has launched anti-Muslim campaigns such as Love Jihad, Land Jihad, incited public lynching, and legislated mass ostracization under the patently discriminatory citizenship law,” the Pakistani diplomat said.

Pakistan also urged the UN Human Rights Council to step up efforts to get access for independent observers into Illegally-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K) to conduct an impartial investigation into reports of multiple violations of human rights in the disputed territory.

“Failure to hold India accountable for human rights abuses in IIOJ&K will erode the credibility of this Council, its members, and the global human rights agenda,” Ambassador Khalil Hashmi, Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, said in the 47-member body’s general debate.

He said the ‘UN Mandate Holders’ (independent rights experts) warned about continuing demographic changes in IIOJ&K on a religious and ethnic basis, as over three million illegal citizenship certificates were issued to non-Kashmiris.

Last year, he added, the UN Experts had characterized the grim human rights situation in IIOJ&K “in a free fall” and called on the international community to “step up”.

“India continues to use torture and brute force, including pellet guns and inflict collective punishments through house demolitions as well as cordon-and-search operations in IIOJ&K.”

Over a thousand Kashmiri civilians are illegally imprisoned since August 2019, the Pakistani envoy said, adding that hundreds of habeas corpus petitions were pending before Indian courts.

“Indian military and the deep State rule the Occupied Territory with a ‘license to kill’ any Kashmiri daring dissent”.

“Such a gross, systematic and continuing violations meet all the elements of objective criteria for a human rights situation warranting the Council’s attention and triggering its ‘prevention mandate’,” he said of the procedure to push for access for independent observers, accountability of perpetrators, and establishment of a commission of inquiry.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet also expressed her “concern” over the deteriorating situation in Indian occupied Kashmir and said the farmers’ protest against farm laws around New Delhi called for ensuring that legislations are based on consultations with stakeholders.