Kashmir dispute ‘not a bilateral, Pakistan’s Imran Khan tells UN chief

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By Muhammad Luqman

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday telephoned United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres to convey his “deep shock and grave concern” at the human rights violations committed by Indian security forces in occupied Kashmir, a statement issued by his office said.

The premier during the conversation “underscored [the] UN’s role to end these violations”, the statement added.

Citing the recent escalation in violence in the occupied  valley, especially the killing of more than a dozen civilians and injuries to over 300 protestors, Khan termed the situation as “unacceptable”, according  to daily newspaper,  The Dawn.

“Jammu and Kashmir dispute is not a bilateral issue between Pakistan and India but an internationally recognised dispute and an outstanding agenda item in the UN Security Council,” the statement quoted the prime minister as telling the UN chief.

Imran Khan urged Guterres to intervene and “stop India from perpetrating state repression, violence and brute force against Kashmiri youth, women and children”.

He demanded that a Commission of Inquiry be urgently dispatched to investigate the situation in occupied Kashmir, as was recommended in a June 2018 report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. He also reiterated the proposal to appoint a special UN representative for resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

The premier expressed the fear that the imposition of presidential rule in occupied Kashmir could “further aggravat[e] the already serious situation”.

Khan’s call to the UN chief comes days after he strongly condemned the killings of innocent civilians at the hands of Indian security forces in Indian occupied Kashmir’s Pulwama area.

“Kashmiris must be allowed to decide their future,” the prime minister had said in a tweet, vowing that his government will raise the issue of Indian’s human rights violations in occupied Kashmir and demand that the UN Security Council “fulfil its J&K plebiscite commitment”.

At least seven civilians were killed and over three dozen injured when Indian forces fired at protesters in Pulwama over the weekend. Residents had accused troops of directly spraying gunfire into the crowds.

The 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) had condemned the shooting at demonstrators as a “terrorist act” and called upon the international community to intervene.

Saturday’s shooting ignited fresh anger across the region that has witnessed its bloodiest year since 2009 and increasingly violent public opposition to Indian rule.

 

Popular support for the Kashmiris fighting for independence or a merger with Pakistan has grown in recent years and villagers, sometimes in their thousands, swarm the sites of gun battles with government forces to assist fighters.

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