UNITED NATIONS - Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi, Tuesday briefed top UN leaders about the escalating Pakistan-India tensions following last week’s Pulwama incident in Indian occupied Kashmir, saying that the “dangerous” situation in the region called for stepping up efforts to settle the decades-old Kashmir dispute.

“I told them the Pulwama incident reinforces the need to address the root cause of violence in occupied Jammu and Kashmir and to find a peaceful solution to the longstanding dispute in accordance with several UN Security Council resolutions,” she told APP after separate meetings with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council President, Anatolio Ndong Mba of Equatorial Guinea.

“I reaffirmed Pakistan’s readiness to a constructive and meaningful dialogue with India over all issues, including the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir and explained that the India’s no-talk posture is not only irresponsible, but it puts at stake, the peace and security of all of South Asia,” Lodhi said.  The Pakistani envoy said she had categorically rejected all Indian allegations. “I regretted that the knee-jerk Indian reaction was an all too familiar attempt to blame Pakistan without any credible investigation to determine facts. I stressed that the international community should not lose sight of the fact that the tragedy of Kashmir is the consequence of systematic denial of their fundamental rights, brutal use of force, and widespread alienation and marginalisation of the Kashmiris,” she said, pointing out that the 2018 report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights amply documented the Indian atrocities.

“Indian brutality and oppression have been met with an intensification of the indigenous Kashmiri struggle against Indian occupation,” she told the UN chief and the President of the 15-member Council.

During the last year alone, she said, over 500 innocent Kashmiris were martyred, making it one of the deadliest years for the Kashmiri struggle against the Indian occupation.

Ambassador Lodhi said she also expressed deep concern over “incendiary and jingoistic” statements from prominent Indian leaders threatening Pakistan.

“I underscored that as a responsible state, Pakistan will continue to exercise calm and restraint but our patience should not be tested.”

She also pointed to the risk that an escalation on Pakistan’s eastern front could undermine efforts underway for a peaceful settlement of the Afghan conflict.

“I also informed both the Secretary General and the President of the Security Council that Prime Minister Imran Khan had offered an investigation into the Pulwama incident, should India provide any actionable intelligence.”

The Pakistani envoy said the UN Secretary-General has told her that he was closely following the developments.

“Guterres said he had read Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s letter and was aware of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s address to the nation. The UN chief has also offered his good offices to help defuse the current tensions, and would continue to do so in future,” said Lodhi.

UN rights chief calls for Kashmiris protection

The United Nations Human Rights Chief has expressed concern over the attacks being carried out by “some elements” in India against Muslims, especially Kashmiris, in the wake of the Pulwama incident, and called for their protection and an end to the ongoing violence.

A spokesman for High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said that those elements are using the Pulwama attack as justification for threats and potential acts of violence targeting Kashmiri and Muslim communities living in different parts of India.

“We acknowledge actions taken by the Indian authorities to tackle these incidents and we hope that the Government will continue to take steps to protect people from all forms of harm that may be directed at them on account of their ethnicity or identity,” Spokesman Rupert Colville told a news briefing in Geneva on Tuesday.

Spokesman Rupert Colville said the High Commissioner condemned the Pulwama attack and hoped that escalating tensions between India and Pakistan will not add further to the insecurity in the region.

EU body berates Indian gross rights violations

Members of the sub-committee on Human Rights of European Parliament have called for implementation of the recommendations contained in a report of Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding the grave human rights situation in Occupied Kashmir.

They urged India to immediately put a halt to its atrocities and carry out investigations into the incidents of grave human rights violations.

The members also highlighted the need for peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue through dialogue between Pakistan and India, and with full participation of Kashmiri people.

They expressed their support in a meeting of the sub-committee on Human Rights of European Parliament, which was held to officially exchange views on human rights situation in IoK.

The Members of the European Parliament who attended the event included Wajid Khan, Julie Ward, Baroness Nosheena Mubarik, Amjad Bashir, David Martin,  Jordi Sole, Sion Simon, Jean Lambert, Richard Corbett, Theresa Griffin and Jo Leinen.

Prime Minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir Raja Farooq Haider, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Belgium, the European Union and Luxembourg Naghmana Alamgir Hashmi, and a large number of Members of European Parliament (MEPs), representatives of human rights and civil society organizations, think tanks, diplomats from various countries and members of Kashmiri diaspora across Europe attended the event.

They stressed upon the EU to realise the binding charter of the UN over human rights and should cease its trade with India indulged in the human rights violations.