Geneva: Pakistan´s foreign minister demanded Tuesday that the UN launch an international investigation into the situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir, warning that a “genocide” could be looming in the Muslim-majority region.
“The people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir are apprehending the worst,” Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, adding that “I shudder to mention the word genocide here, but I must.”
India imposed a military clampdown on Kashmir from August 5 to prevent unrest as New Delhi revoked the disputed region´s autonomy. Mobile phone networks and the internet are still cut off in all but a few pockets.
“For the last six weeks, India has transformed Occupied Jarnmu and Kashmir into the largest prison on this planet,” Qureshi said.
“The forlorn, traumatised towns, mountains, plains and valleys of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir reverberate today, with the grim reminders of Rwanda, Srebrenica, the Rohingya, and the pogrom of Gujarat,” he said.
The minister said India has arrested more than 6,000 people without due process. Many had been “shipped to jails all over India”, he said, citing reports that Indian troops had “shamelessly tortured people in public”.
The minister urged the council to heed recommendations by UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet and her predecessor Zeid Ra´ad Al Hussein to launch an international investigation into the situation in Indian Kashmir.
In several reports, the UN rights chiefs have requested the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry (COI), which is one of the UN´s highest-level probes, generally reserved for major crises like the Syrian conflict.
The council must “take steps to bring to justice the perpetrators of human rights violations of the innocent Kashmiri people, and in this context, constitute a Commission of Inquiry,” Qureshi said.
“If India has nothing to hide, it should allow unhindered access to the Commission of Inquiry,” he insisted. Pakistan was willing to provide access to its side of Line of Control, he added.
Pakistan is expected to present a resolution to the council for consideration by the end of the 42nd session on September 27.
At the opening of the council session on Monday, Bachelet once again voiced alarm at the situation in Kashmir.
She had “appealed particularly to India to ease the current lockdowns or curfews, to ensure people´s access to basic services, and that all due process rights are respected for those who have been detained”, she said.
“It is important that the people of Kashmir are consulted and engaged in any decision-making processes that have an impact on their future,” she added