ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday welcomed the growing world concern over situation in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) and demands by the international community, global leaders, UN Secretary General and the UNHCHR for India to lift the 6-week long siege of the valley.

In series of tweets, he said the international community must not remain indifferent to the massive human rights abuses by the occupation forces under the cover of brutal siege of IOK.

The prime minister’s reaction came hours after United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Monday expressed serious concerns over the prevailing human rights situation in Kashmir. The prime minister welcomed her statement and urged the UN Human Rights Council to immediately set up independent investigation commission to probe human rights violations in the occupied valley.

“I especially welcome the statement by the UNHCHR in Geneva today. I call upon the UN Human Rights Council to immediately set up the indep (independent) Investigation commission to probe human rights abuses in IOJ&K as recommended by the UNHCHR’s two reports on Kashmir. The time to act is now,” he tweeted.

I have appealed India to ease lockdowns. Kashmiris must be consulted and engaged in decision-making that could impact their future

I especially welcome UNHCHR statement. I call upon UN HR Council to set up commission to probe HR abuses in IOK. The time to act is now.

Prime Minister Khan also tagged certain important points from the UNHCHR’s statement in Geneva.

Addressing the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Michelle Bachelet said she was deeply concerned about the impact of recent actions by Indian government on the human rights of Kashmiris including restrictions on internet communications, peaceful assembly and the detention of local political leaders and activities.

“I have appealed India to ease the current lockdowns or curfews, ensure people’s access to basic services and that all due process rights are respected for those who have been detained,” the High Commissioner said, as she stressed that it is important the people of Kashmir are consulted and engaged in any decision-making processes that have an impact on their future.

On the National Register of Citizens verification process in the Northeast Indian State of Assam, she said it has caused great uncertainty and anxiety with some 1.9 million people excluded from the final list published on August 31.

Bachelet asked the Indian Government to ensure due process during the appeals process, prevent deportation or detention, and ensure people are protected from statelessness.

Pakistan Foreign Office also appreciated the serious concern shown by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet over the bloodshed in Kashmir saying that her views vindicate Pakistan’s stance.

Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal in a statement underlined that the Commissioner’s concerns and calls are consistent with the position taken by the UN System vis-a-vis the human rights situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir, including the continuing restrictions and crackdown on fundamental rights and freedoms of the Kashmiri people.



Qureshi flies to Geneva

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi flew to Switzerland yesterday on a three-day visit to represent Pakistan at the 42nd session of UN Human Rights Council beginning in Geneva.

He will also address the session and present the case of Kashmiris before the delegates attending the forum from across the world.

Qureshi will raise the Indian unilateral and illegal actions in occupied Kashmir and will highlight threat posed to the region in the result of these actions.

The Foreign Minister will also hold meetings with leaders of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the World Health Organization in Geneva.

He will interact with local and international media representatives in Geneva and present Pakistan’s stance and point of view on various regional and international issues.

Since August 5, when India merged held Kashmir into its union, more than 4,500 persons among a total of 10,000 arrested have been booked under draconian law, Public Safety Act,.

Those detained under the PSA include Hurriyat leaders, political workers, traders, lawyers, social activists and youth.

The curfew and communication blackout continue in the Kashmir valley, where people are facing acute shortage of essential commodities including baby food and life-saving medicines.

The valley remains cut off from the rest of the world since August 5 due to continued blockade and suspension of internet, mobile and landline services and closing of television channels. The printing of local newspapers remains suspended while schools are shut.