September 2016 News

Wrong To Compare Jammu And Kashmir With Pakistan-occupied Kashmir: India's Sharp Response To UN Human Rights Chief

13 September 2016
Times of India

New Delhi: India on Tuesday shot down a request from the United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner for unconditional access to Kashmir. Its sharp rebuke came on the grounds that in seeking access to Jammu and Kashmir in tandem with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), he had sought to equate a democratically governed state with an undemocratically ruled borough that was a global terror hub. The statement by UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein had come earlier in the day as part of a human rights update delivered to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. 'As regards the suggestion for a visit of a mission to both sides of the Line of Control, we would underline that there is no comparison between the situation in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The former has a democratically elected Government, while the latter has seen a Pakistani diplomat arbitrarily appointed as its head,' read the response from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). 'The Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is part of a pluralistic and secular democracy, where freedoms are guaranteed by an independent judiciary, an active media and a vibrant civil society. In contrast, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is administered by a 'deep state' and has become a hub for the global export of terror,' the MEA statement added. 'We hope that the connection between terrorism and violation of human rights would be recognized and deliberated upon in Geneva,' it concluded. The statement also noted that an all-party delegation had deemed that there were enough democratic channels available to address grievances in Kashmir without resorting to terrorism and violence. al-Hussein had expresses concern over the rising number of countries that are denying access to teams from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCRHR). He said his office had requested the governments of both India and Pakistan for unconditional access to Jammu and Kashmir and PoK, and that he continues to receive reports of the use excessive force against civilians. 'I received last Friday a letter from the Government of Pakistan formally inviting an OHCHR team to the Pakistani side of the line of control, butin tandem with a mission tothe Indian side. I have yet to receive a formal letter from the Government of India. I therefore request here and publicly, from the two Governments, access that is unconditional to both sides of the line of control,' he said. al-Hussein said the team would attempt to investing the conflicting narratives on the causes for the unrest in Kashmir. al-Hussein's remarks come in face of lobbying by Pakistan. The lobbying was part of Islamabad's efforts to internationalize the Kashmir issue and equate Jammu and Kashmir with PoK. Apart from lobbying the five permanent members of the United Nations (US, UK, France, Russia and China) and the European Union to press for a plebiscite in Kashmir, Pakistan continues to openly express support for terrorists by declaring them martyrs. Islamabad's call for a plebiscite comes in disregard of the fact that such a vote has not taken place because it has refused to meet the very first condition of a 1948 UN Security Council resolution - the complete withdrawal of all Pakistani troops and citizens from the parts of Kashmir it occupies.