Pak welcomes report on JK, remains silent on PaK observations
Srinagar, Jun 14: Hours after the United Nations released a first of its kind report on human rights violation in Kashmir, Pakistan on Thursday said that it welcomed the international investigation into the issue, as proposed by the UN. India, earlier in the day, quashed the report calling it mischievous and misleading. In a statement, the Pakistan Foreign Office said that the proposal for an international investigation was consistent with its calls to this effect since 2016, “even as India has continued to ignore legitimate demands for probe into gross and systematic violations, including pellet guns excessive use of force, arbitrary arrest and detentions as well as continued sexual violence as part of overall impunity enjoyed by Indian security forces”. On Pakistan, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said that there was rampant misuse of Pakistan’s anti-terrorism Act against young activists and that there was violation of land rights, restrictions on freedom of religion and belief. The report also said that the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009 imposes similar restrictions on freedom of expression and association of people under its jurisdiction. The report also called for federal and local authorities to amend the constitutions of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan to end the criminalization of the Ahmadiyya Muslims and to allow to them to freely and safely exercise their freedom of religion or belief. Further, OHCHR recommended abolishing blasphemy provisions in Azad Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan to facilitate the enjoyment of freedom of religion and belief by all people. “The report by Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OCHCR) clearly stipulates that its main focus is on the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir. The contents, scale and the narrative of killings, maiming, abuse and impunity articulated in the report is a reaffirmation of what Pakistan has long highlighted for the international community,” the statement by Pakistan FO said, adding that references to human rights concerns in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan should in no way be construed to create a false sense of equivalence with the gross and systematic human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan further said that the lasting solution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute is an essential imperative for peace, security and stability of South Asia and beyond. “India’s continued denial of this imperative, its unwillingness to engage in a dialogue process with Pakistan and suppression of Kashmiri aspirations for freedom continue to endanger regional and international peace and security,” it said, adding that the UN had a clear role to play in the resolution of the dispute.