The FO spokesperson said India must be held accountable for crimes against innocent Kashmiri people.

ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) - Foreign Office Spokesperson Asim Iftikhar on Thursday said Pakistan strongly condemned the continuing grave violations of human rights and curbs on fundamental freedoms by occupation forces in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

During a weekly press briefing, the spokesperson said India must be held accountable for these crimes against the innocent Kashmiri people.

He said the draconian military siege, media and communication blackout in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir continue unabated. Extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and detentions and other atrocities, enabled by the draconian laws, are the new normal in IIOJK, he added.

He said despite India’s denial of access to international media, human rights and international organizations, the grave situation of human rights in IIOJK had been extensively covered by international media, reported by the UN and prominent human rights organizations, and had been raised at numerous platforms, including world parliaments.

“Therefore we have seen that despite India continuously peddling false propaganda and trying to push its sham narrative of so-called normalcy’ in IIOJK, the global concern and censure of Indian atrocities in IIOJK had continued especially since India’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019.”

He recalled the United Nations Security Council discussed the issue of Jammu and Kashmir on three occasions since 5 August 2019.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights had issued two reports in 2018 and 2019, making specific recommendations including the institution of an Independent Commission of Inquiry to investigate the gross and systematic human rights violations by India in the occupied territory, he added.

He said a number of Special Procedures/Rapporteurs of the Human Rights Council expressed serious concerns and had remained actively engaged on the human rights situation in IIOJK.

He elaborated that the High Commissioner for Human Rights in her report to the HRC Session on 13 September expressed concerns that:

“Indian authorities’ restrictions on public assembly and frequent communication blackouts continued.

Hundreds of people remained in detention for exercising their right to the freedom of expression, and journalists faced ever-growing pressure,

Ongoing use of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act throughout India was worrying, with IIOJK having the highest number of cases.”

The official said India must realize that it cannot keep the Kashmiris silent through oppression and illegal occupation, and cannot ignore the calls for bringing an end to its human rights violations in IIOJK. “International community is increasingly becoming the voice of the Kashmiri people.”

“In this regard, we have emphatically rejected the Indian media’s baseless claims that Indian authorities have busted a so-called ‘terror module’ having alleged links with Pakistan,” he added.

He said fabricating unfounded allegations and peddling white lies were part of India’s well-known smear campaign against Pakistan, which had already been fully exposed by EU DisinfoLab and others. Propagation of false news was India’s state policy steered by its pliant media.

Talking about the situation in Afghanistan, he said on the humanitarian side, Pakistan had led the way, having sent already 4 planes containing relief goods and medical supplies for the people of Afghanistan. “We also welcome the high-level meeting convened by the UN in Geneva earlier this week to mobilize urgent humanitarian assistance for Afghanistan. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi represented Pakistan.”

“We also continue to emphasize that sustained, constructive engagement of the international community is imperative to avoid a humanitarian crisis and help ensure durable peace and stability in Afghanistan. Well-being of the Afghan people should be the foremost priority.”

“Pakistan remains actively engaged with the international community and continues to consult our friends and partners,” he added.

He said Pakistan had played a critical role in helping the United States degrade Al Qaeda’s core leadership in Afghanistan, which was the international coalition’s core objective.

At the same time, Pakistan had always maintained that there was no military solution to the larger Afghan conflict and that a political settlement offered the only plausible pathway to sustainable peace in Afghanistan – a position now shared by the United States, he noted.

He said achieving an inclusive political settlement in Afghanistan that represented Afghanistan’s diversity and reflected the gains made by the country remained a shared objective for Pakistan and the United States. “We look forward to building on this convergence while also strengthening other aspects of a broad-based and constructive relationship.”

To a question about the illicit sale and purchase of fissile material in India, he said this issue was of serious concern for Pakistan, the region and for the global community.

“With so many incidents, this issue has to be taken seriously and questions have to be asked about India’s capacity or willingness to effectively address these concerns.”