ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday welcomed the second report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Jammu and Kashmir, but warned against drawing parallels between the human rights abuse in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) with the environment in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).
A statement issued by the Foreign Office said the OHCHR report calls for fully respecting the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu & Kashmir as protected under international law. “We again welcome the OHCHR’s recommendation for the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to investigate the gross and systematic human rights violations in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir.”
The FO notes that the report once again recognized the human rights violations in IoK. “It documents in detail the excessive use of force by the Indian occupation forces, the continued use of pellet guns to kill and maim defenseless civilians, the extrajudicial killings in the garb of the so-called cordon and search operations, use of various forms of arbitrary arrests and detentions to target protestors and political dissidents.”
It added that “the impunity from accountability enjoyed by the Indian occupation forces under the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Public Safety Act (PSA), the use of torture, lack of credible investigation into human rights violations perpetrated by the Indian occupation forces, restrictions on expression and movement of independent journalists to prevent the voices of Kashmiris reaching the international community and targeting of Kashmiri Muslims outside Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir.”
The Foreign Office said: “While we appreciate the Report’s efforts to document the human rights violations in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, we would like to reiterate that there is simply no parallel between the horrendous human rights situation in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the prevailing environment in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.”
Unlike IoK, which is the most militarized zone in the world, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan remain open to foreign visitors, the FO stressed.
“The only solution to the Jammu and Kashmir dispute is to grant the people of IoK the legitimate right to self-determination as recognized by the numerous United Nations Security Council Resolutions, which is essential for the security and stability of South Asia and beyond,” the press release concluded.
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