Geneva (Switzerland): India on Wednesday raised the issue of “human rights violations across Pakistan including Balochistan and PoK” at the United Nations and asserted that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and that Pakistan has illegally occupied the certain parts of the territory.
India also asserted that the use of phrase "Indian administered Kashmir" is an artificial one.
Ajit Kumar, the Indian ambassador to the United Nations office at Geneva, said while responding to Pakistan’s allegations of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir that India’s credentials as a peaceful, democratic, pluralistic society that is deeply committed to the welfare of its people are well established.
“On the contrary, Pakistan is characterised by authoritarianism, absence of democratic norms and widespread human rights violations across the country including Balochistan,” Kumar said.
Exercising its right of reply to the statement made by Pakistan, Kumar said Pakistan is a country, which has systematically abused and violated the human rights of its own citizens, including in Balochistan, as well as of the people of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.
“The fundamental reason for disturbances in Kashmir is the cross-border terrorism sponsored by Pakistan which has provided active support since 1989 to separatist groups and terrorist elements including those operating from the territory under Pakistan’s control.
“Pakistan has once again sought to mask its territorial ambitions and use of terrorism as a state policy under the garb of concern for human rights.
“J&K is an integral part of India and will always remain so. We reject attempts by Pakistan to denigrate the democratic choice that has been regularly exercised by the people of J&K,” he said.
In a no-holds-barred offensive, India said while advocating restraint to others, Pakistan has no hesitation in using air power against its own people.
“Pakistan also continues to provide sanctuary to UN- designated terrorists. It was, therefore, no surprise that Pakistan failed to convince the international community to secure the membership of the Human Rights Council last year,” Kumar added.
India strongly rejects Pakistan’s continued misuse of the Council to make tendentious references about internal matters pertaining to the Indian state of J&K, the ambassador said.
“This stems from Pakistan’s territorial ambitions over Kashmir that has found concrete expression in repeated armed aggressions. Pakistan continues to be in illegal occupation of a large part of territory in J&K,” he said.
Reiterating that the situation in the Valley arose from the death of a self-acknowledged commander of Hizb-ul- Mujahideen terror group, India said it was further aggravated by sustained cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan.
Kumar said the high number of causalities sustained by Indian security forces is a reflection of the tremendous restraint they have displayed in difficult circumstances.
Kumar asserted that India has a robust institutional framework to ensure adherence to rule of law and respect for fundamental rights of the people in J&K, including independent judiciary, National Human Rights Commission, vibrant civil society and free and vocal media.
In contrast, the people of Pakistan as well as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir have become victims of sectarian conflict, terrorism and extreme economic hardship due to Pakistan’s authoritarian and discriminatory policies in complete disregard of human rights, he added.
Emphasising that terrorism was the grossest violation of human rights and should be so acknowledged by any impartial observer.
“The heart of the matter is that we are dealing with a state that regards the use of terrorism as a legitimate instrument of statecraft.
“The world watches with concern as the consequences of Pakistan’s actions have spread beyond its immediate neighbour. All of us stand prepared to help, if only the creators of this monster wake up to the dangers of what they have done to themselves,” the Indian envoy added.
“The institutions of governance in Pakistan have corroded to such an extent that it has become a hub for the global export of terror,” he said.
“It will be in the fitness of things if Pakistan focuses its energies on improving human rights situation within Pakistan and PoK,” Kumar said.
“Pakistan is characterised by authoritarianism, absence of democratic norms and widespread human rights violations across country including Balochistan,” Kumar said in response to Pakistan’s statement during 33rd session of UN Human Rights Commission.
It must also take action against the perpetrators of terrorist attacks on its neighbours who are roaming freely in Pakistan with impunity, so that terrorism emanating from Pakistan - the gravest risk for peace and stability of the region - could be addressed effectively, he added.
India’s response came a day after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein expressed concern over violence-hit Kashmir and requested both India and Pakistan to give "unconditional access" to both sides to conduct independent probes into the Kashmir and Balochistan unrest.
"I believe an independent, impartial and international mission is now needed crucially and that it should be given free and complete access to establish an objective assessment of the claims made by the two (Indian and Pakistani) sides," UN human rights chief Zeid Raad al-Hussein told the Geneva-based Human Rights Council on Tuesday.
India, in its reply, said that while it acknowledges the role of the OHCHR for protection of human rights "more would be gained if primacy were accorded to cooperation over confrontation" as the guiding principle.
Addressing the session, Kumar pointed out that Jammu and Kashmir has an elected democratic government that represents all sections of the people unlike the situation in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir.
“The current violence in Jammu and Kashmir has been choreographed from across our border since the death of a known terrorist belonging to an internationally proscribed terrorist organization in police action in July this year. We have shared evidence of terrorists who came across the border with instructions to target our security forces by mingling with protesting crowds and using human shields. Terrorism, I would emphasise, is the most egregious violation of human rights,” he said.
He maintained that the whole problem of Kashmir is due to that fact of cross border terrorism and added that he told the UN that Islamabad is sending terrorists which are mingling with the crowd using children as shields.
"Pakistan is sending terrorists which are mingling with the crowd using children as shields and that we are trying to tackle, and India being world largest democracy has its own means and all party delegation has visited (Kashmir)," he said.
"The current violence in Jammu and Kashmir has been choreographed from across our border since the death of a known terrorist belonging to an internationally proscribed terrorist organization in police action in July this year.
"We have shared evidence of terrorists who came across the border with instructions to target our security forces by mingling with protesting crowds and using human shields. Terrorism, I would emphasise, is the most egregious violation of human rights," India said in its response during a general debate on the High Commissioner’s update to the UNHRC.
Normal life in the Valley remained affected for the 68th day due to curfew and separatist sponsored strike since July 9, following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani.
Curfew and restrictions continued in Kashmir today to maintain law and order, a day after two youths died in clashes in the Valley taking the toll in the unrest to 78.