Guided tour to IIOJK, meeting with hand-picked people a smokescreen: FO

ISLAMABAD, Feb 20 (APP): Pakistan on Saturday said that guided tours to the IIOJK and meetings with hand-picked people were designed to create a smokescreen to divert attention from the egregious human rights violations in the occupied territory.

Rejecting the Indian Ministry of External Affairs remarks, Foreign Office spokesperson said, in a statement, that the recent visit of a group of Delhi-based diplomats was also meant to divert attention from India’s illegal measures to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory.

He said the statement by UN Special Rapporteur on minority issues and Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion and belief on the concluding day of this visit has rightly highlighted the Indian attempts to “alter the demographics of the region and undermine the minorities’ ability to exercise effectively their human rights”.

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“No sham electoral exercise in IIOJK can substitute the UN Security Council mandated plebiscite under the UN auspices,” he added.

The spokesperson said India could not even feign ‘normalcy’ with continuing military siege and restrictions on the fundamental freedoms of Kashmiri people.

He said the people’s rights to assembly, free movement, freedom of expression and even to safety of life and property were routinely violated in the IIOJK with impunity.

The talk of ‘inclusive development’ while hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris are being deprived of basic rights and economic opportunities is farcical, he remarked.

The spokesperson said the so-called ‘development’ narrative was also an attempt to mislead the international community.

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“It is meant to obfuscate the machinations to further disempower and disenfranchise the Kashmiri people who are being reduced to a minority in their own land through the ongoing demographic restructuring in violation of relevant UNSC resolutions and the international law, including the 4th Geneva Convention,” the spokesperson said.

He reiterated call to the international community to urge India to allow the Kashmiris to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination as enshrined in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.