September 2019 News
India Ready For Big Showdown With Pakistan At UNHRC On Kashmir9 September 2019
New Delhi: Pakistan considers the 42nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) as its last chance before the UN General Assembly to catch world's attention over Jammu and Kashmir. Its campaign to corner India over the Narendra Modi government's move to scrap special status of Jammu and Kashmir last month has not met with much success. In yet another effort, Pakistan has sent its Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi to present its argument in the UN body that is holding its annual session during September 9-13 at Geneva, Switzerland. In contrast, India is sending a secretary-level bureaucrat to counter Pakistan with its own set of dossiers explaining the situation that led to scrapping of special status of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan's continuous support to terrorism and separatism in Kashmir Valley, prohibitory orders in only a few police stations across the state and the number of casualties since clampdown is limited to five. Qureshi, however, hopes that with the backing of China and some Islamic countries, it will be able to push a resolution in Kashmir. But India looks ready for the challenge. Pakistan is believed to have prepared a dossier to argue that India violated UN resolution in changing the status of Jammu and Kashmir, and that there have been gross violations of human rights in the Kashmir Valley since August 5 under government-enforced lockdown. Pakistan is targeting to get support of at least one-third of the 47-member UN body to get its complaint registered. It is heavily banking on the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Of 57 OIC members, 15 are also the members of the UNHRC. With stated support of China, Pakistan hopes it would have India cornered in the UNHRC. But recent response from the OIC does not favour Pakistan. The OIC had recently rejected Pakistan's demand to express concern over scrapping of special status of Jammu and Kashmir. The OIC had, however, expressed a routine 'concern' over human rights situation in Kashmir Valley. The OIC had expressed similar concern even before scrapping of special status. Moreover, several OIC members are of the view that Article 370 is an internal issue of India. On the other hand, Indian delegation would be carrying dossiers on Pakistani support to terrorism in Kashmir Valley, Pakistan's human rights record in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and carving out of Gilgit-Baltistan as a separate territory from the PoK. While Pakistan is mainly dependent on the OIC members of the UNHRC, India's external affairs ministry has reached out to all 47 member-nations of the UN body. India's diplomatic outreach includes China, which has sided with Pakistan. India has engaged with much vocal European bloc comprising Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Hungary, Bulgaria and Czech Republic over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Incidentally, President Ram Nath Kovind would be visiting Iceland, Switzerland and Slovenia during September 9-13. On Monday, India Today reported that India is confident of getting support from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Japan, Nepal, African countries including South Africa and Australia. Besides, among West Asian Muslim bloc, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Qatar are important votes for India at the UNHRC. It is likely that the UNHRC would express concern over human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir but the UN body is likely to tag Pakistan along over its track record of human rights abuse. An indication of the same came on Monday in the statements of Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights chief. She said her office continues to receive reports on the human rights situation on both sides of the Line of Control. 'I am deeply concerned about the impact of recent actions by the Government of India on the human rights of Kashmiris, including restrictions on internet communications and peaceful assembly, and the detention of local political leaders and activists,' she said in her opening statement at the 42st session of the Human Rights Council.