By Muhammad Luqman
Pakistan has welcomed the public hearing on human rights in
occupied Jammu and Kashmir held by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of
the U.S. Congress, held on 14 November 2019 at Washington D.C.
The deliberations of
the Commission reinforced internationally recognized disputed nature of the
Jammu and Kashmir issue and highlighted gross human rights violations and the
humanitarian crisis in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K), according
to spokesman of Pakistan’s foreign office.
A call for an independent fact-finding mission to IOJ&K
was made. The right of self-determination of Kashmiri people was also duly
underscored during the Commission’s proceedings.
Held less than a month after the hearing of the Subcommittee
on Asia of the U.S.House of Representatives, the Lantos Commission hearing
reflected continued international concern over the situation in IOJ&K.
Pakistan recognizes efforts of Members of the U.S. Congress who have raised
their voices of conscience on the ongoing persecution of the people of
IOJ&K and called upon the Indian government to end its brutal repression.
We appreciate that the U.S. leadership and lawmakers are cognizant of the
potential threats to fundamental human rights, freedom of speech, right of self-determination,
and peace and stability in the region and are willing to play their due role to
help bring the continuing humanitarian nightmare to an end.
The general view during the hearing was that international
journalists, independent human rights organizations and United Nations Special
Rapporteurs should be allowed to visit IOJ&K. The witnesses also called for
immediate lifting of the communications blockade and restoration of human
rights in occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Overall, it was emphasized that India
should not be allowed to continue its oppressive policies as well as religious
and ethnic persecution. The international community was urged to hold
independent investigations into grave human rights violations in the occupied
territory. Importantly, the need for the U.S. Congress to play an even greater
role in urging India to end its repression in IOJ&K, without succumbing to
any political expediency, was emphasized.
The courage of the panelists who became the voice of
innocent Kashmiri people being brutally silenced by India’s communications
blockade is laudable. They shredded the myth of so-called “largest democracy”
and honestly exposed the authoritarian, nationalistic and extremist motivations
driving the Indian government’s deplorable and repressive policies. They also
expressed their concern that persecution of religious minorities in India,
especially manifested in the form of anti-conversion legislation, Babri Masjid
verdict, National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam as well as mob violence and
lynching were fostering a growing sense of fear among the minorities in India.
The latest hearing in the Lantos Commission of the U.S.
Congress is another illustration of the world community’s serious concern over
the unacceptable situation in IOJ&K and the need to address it urgently.
The Indian regime must end its illegal occupation of IOJ&K, stop its
state-terrorism in the occupied territories, and allow the exercise of right to
self-determination to the Kashmiri people as stipulated by the United Nations
Security Council resolutions.