India on Tuesday countered Pakistan’s efforts to internationalise the reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) by saying the Pakistani leadership is using the issue to promote cross-border terrorism.
After Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s demanded an international investigation into the situation in Kashmir, India outlined its position through a statement by secretary (east) Vijay Thakur Singh and a “right of reply” by junior diplomat Vimarsh Aryan.
Qureshi also asked UNHRC to urge India to roll back a clampdown and communications blackout, restore fundamental liberties, and release political prisoners.
Aryan, the first secretary at India’s permanent mission to the UN, said: “We are not surprised at Pakistan’s hysterical statements with false, fabricated narratives aimed to politicise and polarise this forum. Pakistan realises that our recent decision [on Kashmir] cuts the very ground from under its feet by creating obstacles in its continuing sponsorship of cross-border terrorism against India.
“In this desperate mind-frame, some Pakistan leaders have even gone as far as to call for ‘jihad’ and to encourage violence both inside Jammu & Kashmir and in third countries, in order to paint a picture of ‘genocide’ which even they know is far from reality,” he added, in an apparent reference to the Pakistani leadership’s remarks that developments in Kashmir could affect the troubled peace process in Afghanistan.
Earlier, in her statement, Singh said the changes in Kashmir are the outcome of a “sovereign decision” that was “entirely internal to India”. She added: “No country can accept interference in its internal affairs, certainly not India.”
India’s “legislative measures” within the framework of its Constitution will ensure people in Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh benefit from the government’s welfare programmes and schemes aimed at empowering women, children and other underprivileged sections of society, she said.
“Despite challenging circumstances, Jammu & Kashmir’s civil administration is ensuring basic services, essential supplies, normal functioning of institutions, mobility and nearly full connectivity. Democratic processes have been initiated,” Singh said.
“Restrictions are being eased continuously. Temporary preventive and precautionary measures were necessitated to ensure safety and security of our citizens in the face of credible threats of cross-border terrorism,” she added.
Without naming Pakistan, Singh said India had suffered from the activities of “practitioners of state sponsored terrorism” and the time has come for firm action against terror groups and their abettors. She added: “Those who abet, finance and support terrorism in any form on territory under their control are in truth the worst violators of human rights.”
Singh said a “fabricated narrative” against India had come from the “epicentre of global terrorism”, a nation that “conducts cross-border terrorism as a form of ‘alternate diplomacy’”.
Qureshi, who has become the face of Pakistan’s efforts to internationalise the Kashmir issue, urged UNHRC to heed the recommendations of UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet and her predecessor Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein to launch an investigation into the situation in Kashmir.
The UN rights chiefs had called for establishing a commission of inquiry, one of the UN’s highest-level probes, and Qureshi said UNHRC must “take steps to bring to justice the perpetrators” of alleged rights violations and constitute such a commission of inquiry.
Qureshi also demanded that UNHRC should immediately take four steps, including urging India to reverse the clampdown and communications blackout, restore fundamental liberties, release political prisoners, fulfil obligations under the UN Security Council resolutions, stop the use of pellet guns and “end the bloodshed”.
UNHRC should also act to bring to justice perpetrators of rights violations, authorise the office of the high commissioner to monitor and report on India’s alleged rights violations in Kashmir and urge India to allow unhindered access for human rights groups and international media to Kashmir.
Qureshi contended that Jammu & Kashmir had become the “largest prison on this planet” and that he had brought the “plea and the petition” of the Kashmiri people, “whose inalienable rights are being trampled by India”, to UNHRC.
He also alleged India could resort to a “false flag operation”, the “bogey of terrorism” or “even attack Pakistan” to divert global attention from the Kashmir issue.
However, India’s “right of reply” to Qureshi’s remarks, delivered by Aryan, accused Pakistan of “blatant misrepresentation of facts” and peddling a “false narrative”.
“This is an ill-disguised effort to advance its territorial ambitions. We reject this propaganda,” he said, adding that Article 370 was a temporary provision of the Indian Constitution and its modification is “within our sovereign right and entirely an internal matter of India”.
India’s “right of reply” also questioned Pakistan’s “gory record” on human rights.
“This rhetoric will not distract international attention from Pakistan’s persecution and elimination of religious and ethnic minorities — be it the Christians, Sikhs, Shias, Ahmadiyas and Hindus. This is the reason that Pakistan no longer publishes official statistics about its minorities as India does,” Aryan said.
He also referred to the “blatant abuse of blasphemy laws in Pakistan to persecute minorities” and a recent case of abduction, forced conversion and marriage of a minor Sikh girl, saying it exemplified the state of women from minority communities.
“Jammu & Kashmir has been, is and shall continue to be an integral part of India. Pakistan’s nefarious designs will never succeed because the people of India are united in their determination to preserve our territorial integrity along with our core values of democracy, tolerance and unity in diversity,” Aryan said.
Sep 11, 2019 00:02 IST