ISLAMABAD, Feb 23 (APP):Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in the aftermath of Pulwama incident, the human rights situation in the Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK), in particular and in India
as whole, is now turning from bad to worse.

“As if the use of pellet guns against Kashmiri protestors, the outright refusal by India to initiate political dialogue with the Kashmiris and Pakistan, ongoing “shoot to kill” orders against Kashmiris, were not enough, there is now a concerted campaign to whip up hatred and violence against Kashmiris and discrimination against them across India,” the foreign minister said in a letter addressed to the UN High Commissioner for the Human Rights on the increasing human rights violations in IOK and related issues.

“The troubling situation in Jammu and Kashmir also warrants attention from the international humanitarian law perspective, especially the four Geneva Conventions. Given the active nature of armed conflict in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, it is imperative to impress upon India to
faithfully adhere to its obligations under the Conventions to which it is a party,” he added.

The foreign minister urged the UN High Commissioner to issue a call on India to allow unhindered access to UN mechanisms to IOK. India must also be obliged to comply with its international humanitarian law obligations with respect to IoK.

The foreign minister had written the letter to follow up on his earlier letter dated 16 December 2018, regarding the deteriorating human rights situation in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOK), the Foreign office Saturday said while sharing the text of the letter with media.

He said the attack in Pulwama on Indian paramilitary personnel on February 14 needed to be seen in an objective manner.

“That Indian Government chose to immediately externalize blame for this attack, without investigations, fits a known policy approach. Such an approach is clearly manifest in its attempts to divert global attention from the continuing grave human rights and international humanitarian law violations in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and brand those seeking to safeguard their legitimate political and
human rights including the right to self-determination as `terrorists’,” he added.

Qureshi mentioned that that Jammu and Kashmir was an internationally recognized disputed territory, which India continued to occupy in violation of international law.

He said the issue of Jammu and Kashmir remained an outstanding item on the agenda of UN Security Council. India continued to demonstrate its non-compliance with several Security Council resolutions on this subject.

The foreign minister said by a conservative estimate, more than 100,000 Kashmiris had died in their quest to achieve freedom from the Indian occupation. Kashmiris have been tortured, maimed or summarily executed by the Indian occupying forces.

There were known allegations of sexual violence against Kashmiri women. As a result, there was hardly any individual in the IOK who hasn’t lost a loved one, a friend, or a close a relative since the Kashmiris launched their indigenous struggle in 1989, he added.

Qureshi said the widespread repression by more than 700,000 Indian security personnel deployed in the IOK have alienated Kashmiris particularly the youth.

The Pulwama attack, by India’s own accounts, was carried out by a young Kashmiri, who had been under Indian captivity. The causes of extreme discontentment and resulting violence were not hard to find.

The Indian Government was leveraging this incident for electrical gains in the forthcoming general elections, and in that process, it was constricting space for a political dialogue and negotiations with both the Kashmiris and Pakistan.

“Even more worryingly, the Indian Government has chosen to remain silent in the wake of most appalling acts of violence against Kashmiris, perpetrated by extremist elements,” he added.

He said Pakistan welcomed the call made earlier this week on India by the European Parliament’s Sub-Committee on Human Rights to end its atrocities in the occupied Kashmir.

“These growing voices of concern against the well entrenched India regime of human rights violations are consistent with the reports of your office last June as well as that of the All Parties Parliamentary Group of the UK in 2018,” he further added.

The foreign minister also welcomed the concerns expressed by the UN High Commissioner on February 19 on the use of Pulwama attack by such elements as justification for threats and violence against Kashmiris and Muslims in various parts of India.

“While we fully share these concerns, we would request you to continue monitoring of the situation and call for protecting people from all forms of harm on account of their identity and ethnicity,” he added.