Shah Mahmood Qureshi asks UN to launch probe into situation in Kashmir, says threat of 'genocide' looming over state

  • Pakistan's foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday asked the UN to launch an investigation into the situation in Jammu and Kashmir

  • Cautioning the UNHRC against remaining indifferent, he said that a threat of genocide could be looming over the region

  • Speaking to reporters after addressing the United Nations rights forum, Qureshi said that he saw 'no possibility of a bilateral engagement with India'

Pakistan's foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday asked the United Nations (UN) to launch an investigation into the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, saying that the spectre of a "genocide" could be looming over the region.

Addressing the 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Qureshi cautioned the human rights body against remaining "indifferent" to the situation in Kashmir after India revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status, saying it is the repository of the world's conscience on human rights.

 Shah Mahmood Qureshi asks UN to launch probe into situation in Kashmir, says threat of genocide looming over state

File image of Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Reuters

Pakistan's foreign minister also said that the top UN rights body should not be embarrassed on the world stage by its inaction over the issue.

"Today, I have knocked on the doors of the Human Rights Council, the repository of the world's conscience on human rights, to seek justice and respect for the people of Kashmir," he said.

"We must not allow this august body to be embarrassed on the world stage. As a founding member of this Council, Pakistan feels morally and ethically bound to prevent this from occurring," he said, adding that in order to do so the body should not remain indifferent to the situation that was unfolding. "We must act decisively and with conviction," he said.

"I shudder to use the word genocide here, but I must", Qureshi said, while calling upon the UN body to take action.

Qureshi asked the Council to urge India to immediately stop the use of pellet guns, lift the curfew, reverse the clampdown and communications blackout, restore fundamental freedoms and liberties, release political prisoners and fulfil obligations under the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and various human rights instruments, as required by international law.

He asked the Council to constitute a commission of inquiry into the situation in Kashmir, as recommended by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Qureshi said that the Kashmiri people were denied the "basic and inalienable human rights" and added that basic amenities and means of communication were not accessible to the people of Kashmir.

He claimed that shops and hospitals in the region were running out of supplies and the political leadership of Kashmir had been placed under house arrest or imprisoned.

He alleged that India's actions violated multiple international human rights instruments that it was a party to and reiterated that India's unilateral decision to revoke Article 370 on August 5 was illegal under international law.

Speaking to reporters after addressing the United Nations rights forum, Qureshi said that he saw “no possibility of a bilateral engagement with India” and also urged the UNSC to take action.

His statement came a day after UN high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet expressed "deep concern" over the impact of restrictions in Kashmir, and asked India to ease the current lockdowns to ensure people's access to basic services.

Qureshi calls Jammu and Kashmir an Indian state

Later, outside the UNHRC headquarters, Qureshi — while lashing out at India for claiming that the situation in Kashmir had returned to normalcy — called Jammu and Kashmir "an Indian state".

Qureshi said, "India is trying to give an impression to the world that life has returned to normalcy. If the life has returned to normalcy, then I'll say why don't they allow you, the international media, international organisations, the NGOs, civil society organisations to go into the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and see for themselves what the reality is? They're lying through their teeth, and once the curfew is lifted, the reality comes out, the world will wake up to the catastrophe that is underway right now."

Till date, Pakistan, in all its official communication, has been referring to Jammu and Kashmir as "Indian-administered Kashmir". Q

Qureshi's remark didn't go unnoticed and several Indian users on Twitter trolled and mocked him for "finally admitting" that Jammu and Kashmir was as an Indian state.

India abrogated the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution in Jammu and Kashmir on 5 August and bifurcated it into two Union Territories.

India's move evoked strong reactions from Pakistan with its Prime Minister Imran Khan making provocative anti-India rhetoric, which India dubbed as "irresponsible statements".

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Sep 11, 2019 08:08:13 IST