At UN, India and Pakistan spar over human rights violations in Kashmir

After India made its statement at the UN Human Rights Council​ (UNHRC), accusing Pakistan ​of  the illegal occupation of Kashmir​,​ both the countries have engaged in a war of words accusing and counter-accusing ​each other​ ​of human rights violations.

Pakistan responded to India's statement stressing that Kashmir was not a part of India — the UN high commissioner for human rights visit will help end the “culture of impunity” that exists in “India-occupied J&K” (IoK) where human rights violations are “rampant". The latest upsurge was triggered by the “extra-judicial execution of a 22-year-old Kashmiri” on 8 July. It is characteristic of “oppressive” regimes to label those struggling for their rights as terrorists, said Pakistani ambassador to the UN, Tehmina Janjua, to the UNHRC. Claims of restraint shown by India are “preposterous”, she added. The fact that India has not yet agreed to the high commissioner's visit showed that it had something to hide, Pakistan claimed.

 At UN, India and Pakistan spar over human rights violations in Kashmir

Representational image. AFP

India exercising its Right of Reply (RoR) responded to Pakistan by stating that Pakistan uses terrorism as a state policy “under the garb of human rights” and systematically violates the human rights of its own people, including in Balochistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The country has no hesitation to use air-power against its own people and, therefore, it was no surprise that Pakistan had failed to convince the international community to secure a seat at the HRC, India said. The current violence was sustained by cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan. The high casualty figure of Indian security forces show the restraint that they have displayed in difficult circumstances.

“All of us are prepared to help if the creators of this monster wake up to the dangers of what they have done to themselves,” India told the council.

Pakistan, in turn, used its RoR to respond stating that India has “insulted” the intelligence of the council with their “usual twisting of historical facts” and “traditional Indian pattern of obfuscation and denial”. It invited the Indian delegation to admit to the heavy presence of Indian special forces in the region, as well as the “indiscriminate use” of pellet guns “aimed directly at civilian protesters”. Since 1989, 98,000 people have been killed in “IoK”. “Can the Indian delegate deny that the UN has called for the holding of an impartial plebiscite to ascertain the wishes of Kashmiri people,” Pakistan asked.

India, after this, used its second and last RoR and rejected Pakistan’s misuse of the council to make ​"​tendentious​"​ references to the ​"​internal matter of the Indian state of J&K”. Pakistan has sponsored cross-border terrorism since 1989, India accused. Referring to the country as the ​"​gravest risk” for stability in the region, India said that many countries had asked Pakistan to stop acting as the “epicentre of terrorism”. Pakistan is characterised by authoritarianism with corroded institutions and engaging in massive human rights violations, including in Balochistan. The country must take action against terrorists who have perpetrated violence against their neighbours and are now roaming freely with impunity, India told the council.

Pakistan, didn't let go off its chance to use its second RoR and responded to India's second RoR statement. It was an “unrealistic hope” that India will accept that Kashmir is an international issue and that the "​terrible situation in Kashmir flows from the nature of Indian occupation​"​ .

“Accusations of trouble being fomented from outside is at complete variance with facts on the ground,” Pakistan said. Calling Burhan Wani a “youth leader” Pakistan said that more than 2,00,000 people had attended his funeral despite a curfew. Kashmiri leaders have repeatedly made it clear that they will accept nothing less than their right to self-determination, Pakistan claimed.

The volley of accusations stopped only after both countries had exhausted their rights to respond to each other.

Updated Date: Sep 15, 2016 11:32:29 IST