September 2016 News

India Slams Pakistan's Territorial Ambitions Over Kashmir At UNHRC

14 September 2016
Elizabeth Roche

New Delhi: India on Wednesday slammed Pakistan at the UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) in Geneva for Islamabad's territorial ambitions vis-a-vis Kashmir and its dismal human rights record in southeastern Balochistan as well as Pakistan-administered Kashmir. In a statement at the 33rd Session of the UNHRC in Geneva, India's permanent ambassador Ajit Kumar said India 'strongly' rejects Pakistan's continued misuse of the Council to 'make tendentious references about internal matters pertaining to the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.' This, he said, stemmed from 'Pakistan's territorial ambitions over Kashmir that has found concrete expression in repeated armed aggressions. Pakistan continues to be in illegal occupation of a large part of territory in Jammu and Kashmir.' Kumar said that Indian-administered Kashmir was presently seeing a wave of unrest and disturbance, the main reason for which was 'the cross-border terrorism sponsored by Pakistan which has provided active support since 1989 to separatist groups and terrorist elements including those operating from the territory under Pakistan's control.' Indian Kashmir has witnessed unrest since 8 July when Burhan Wani, who India says is a member of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group, was killed by Indian troops in Kashmir. Indian security forces have been trying to quell unrest in the region that the government in New Delhi says has been instigated by Pakistan. Nearly 80 people have been killed since the unrest began. According to Kumar, 'Pakistan's dismal track record is well known and many countries have repeatedly called upon Pakistan to end cross-border infiltration; dismantle the terrorism infrastructure; and stop acting as an epicentre of terrorism.' India and Afghanistan both accuse Pakistan of trying to destablise their countries-a charge Pakistan denies. India blames Pakistan for supporting anti India militant groups which it says are fomenting an Islamist insurgency in Indian Kashmir. Afghanistan on the other hand blames Pakistan for supporting the Taliban which was ousted by US led international troops in 2001 in the wake of the 11 September 2001 terror attacks in the US. The Taliban however have made a remarkable comeback in recent years and this is seen as due to the covert support extended by Pakistan to the hardline Sunni group. Kumar said India's 'credentials as a peaceful, democratic, pluralistic society that is deeply committed to the welfare of its people are well established. 'On the contrary, Pakistan is characterised by authoritarianism, absence of democratic norms and widespread human rights violations across the country including Balochistan. The institutions of governance in Pakistan have corroded to such an extent that it has become a hub for the global export of terror,' he said. Prime minister Narendra Modi had in an meeting with members of Indian political parties on 12 August said that India would highlight Pakistan's human rights violations in Balochistan where the Pakistan army has been trying to douse an insurgency using artillery and aerial bombings, according to news reports. Modi had then said that Indian missions abroad would be tasked with highlighting human rights violations in Balochistan. In his Independence Day speech on 15 August, he had again referred to the subject saying that people of Balochistan, and other regions of like Gilgit had sent messages thanking him for focussing attention on their cause. Pakistan has long accused India of supporting the Baloch insurgency - a charge India denies and dismisses as a cover for Islamabad's own record in backing the Kashmir insurgency. According to Kumar, 'It will be in the fitness of things if instead of ritually raking up alleged human rights violations elsewhere, Pakistan were to focus its energies on improving human rights situation within Pakistan and Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. 'It must also take action against the perpetrators of terrorist attacks on its neighbours who are roaming freely in Pakistan with impunity, so that terrorism emanating from Pakistan - the gravest risk for peace and stability of the region - could be addressed effectively,' Kumar said.