ISLAMABAD – On Monday the United Nations new report about the scenario in Indian-held Kashmir, was welcomed by Pakistan.
For the second year in a row, the report called for initiating a CoI (Commission of Inquiry). Such a commission will investigate the human rights abuses which are committed by the Indian troops.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office advised the OHCHR (High Commissioner for Human Rights) of the UN Office not to compare the circumstances in occupied Kashmir to Gilgit-Baltistan & Azad Kashmir.
Initiate commission of Inquiry:
The Foreign Office said that the recommendation of the OHCHR to initiate a CoI (Commission of Inquiry) for the investigation of the systematic and crude violations of human rights in Indian occupied Kashmir & Jammu, is welcomed.
The launching of the CoI will concur with the 3rd anniversary of the martyrdom of Burhan Wani, the Kashmiri leader.
Wani, killed by Indian forces, ignited the current stage of an uprising within the Kashmir valley.
In this 2nd report of the OHCHR, the human rights circumstances are documented for the period between May 2018 & April 2019.
This report particularly outlines the sharp worsening of the circumstances after attack on 14 February on the Indian paramilitary forces stationed in Pulwama which resulted in a military showdown between India & Pakistan.
The report stated that the post-Pulwama scenario is continuously impacting the Kashmiris rights, which also include their right to life.
The first report, released during June 2018, concentrated on profound human rights violations. These violations especially include the Indian Forces’ use of uncurbed force.
In turn, this resulted in arbitrary detention, civilian casualties, abusing human rights in occupied Kashmir, and indemnity for violating human rights.
In addition, the report of 2018, analyzed the circumstances in Gilgit-Baltistan & Azad Kashmir.
A wide variety of recommendations were made in the first report for both Islamabad & Delhi. The initiating of a CoI was also included. This type of investigation is the UN system’s highest level.
The recent report stated that the last report’s recommendations to address the rights scenario were never implemented.
Besides restating these recommendations, the recent report has made new recommendations for improving the situation regarding human rights.
It was maintained that Indian troops take no accountability for engaging in human rights violations.
No investigation after so many casualties:
It added that the Indian authorities did not initiate new investigations regarding the use of excessive force, resulting in casualties, despite the atrocity of the crisis in human rights!
Furthermore, there is no details nor information about the 5 investigations which were launched regarding 2016’s extrajudicial executions.
During 2017 no investigations were conducted into the killing of civilians by the Kashmir or Jammu Indian states, whilst no prosecutions were reported.
It seems that the Indian security forces were not requested to change or re-evaluate their crowd controlling techniques nor their rules of engagement.
The report further stated that the personnel within the security forces who were accused of torturing civilians or other inhuman or degrading treatment were not been prosecuted in any civilian court.
These accusations started to emerge from the early 1990s!
According to the report, India had ignored these international concerns, whilst Indian army continuously is using pellet guns.
12 guage shotgun:
This 12 gauge shotgun with pump action is deemed to be amongst the most lethal weapons which are used in Kashmir and shoots metal pellets.
How many people have lost their eye-sight?
The Srinagar Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital reported that during the period middle-2016 to December 2018, 1,253 people lost their sight due to metal pellets which were fired by the security forces.
The Indian forces which used the cordon & search operations are also criticized in the report. The reintroduction of these types of operations started in 2017 within the valley.
Human rights organizations, both national & international expressed their fears that these kinds of actions may result in a wide range of violations where human rights are concerned.
These violations can include, assault & physical intimidation, unlawful & arbitrary detention, invasion of privacy, destroying private property and collective punishment.
Special legal regimes within the occupied Kashmir were also questioned by the report. The report stated that the AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act) of 1990, in Kashmir and Jammu stays a principal obstacle to accountability.
In the AFSPA, section 7 it is determined that the prosecution of personnel within the security forces is prohibited, except when the Indian Government authorizes an earlier sanction or permission to prosecute.
No prosecution in the last 30 years:
In almost 30 years that the law was enforced in Kashmir & Jammu, no prosecution of personnel within the armed forces was conveyed by the central Indian government.
However, efforts to release information about trials presided over by military courts were resisted by the Indian Army.
In these courts, soldiers were at first found guilty, whilst a military tribunal of a higher power, at a later stage, granted their acquittal and set them free.
Yet, again the report recognized the violations of human rights in the Indian held Kashmir & Jammu.
In its reaction, the FO stated that the report described the excessive force which the Indian forces used, in detail.
The FO, further stated that there is no similarity between the abominable human rights scenario in Indian occupied Kashmir & Jammu and the current environment within Azad Jammu, Kashmir & Gilgit-Baltistan.
Contrastive to IoK, the world’s most militarised zone, the AJK & Gilgit-Baltistan stay open for foreign visitors.
Like last year’s report, this year’s report yet again, in addition to discussing the circumstances in the occupied valley, also assessed the state of affairs in Azad Kashmir
It recollected Pakistan’s response to the previous year’s observations, sustaining that Azad Kashmir, as well as Gilgit-Baltistan’s legal & constitutional structures, protect their citizens’ rights in an adequate manner.
The second report of the OHCHR in which the call for respect to the citizens of Jammu Kashmir’s self-determination right, protected by international law, was repeated, whilst it was appreciated by the FO.
The FO said, the sole solution to the Kashmir & Jammu dispute is granting the citizens of the Indian occupied Kashmir the legal right to their self-determination, which is recognized by the various UN Security Council Resolutions. This is crucial for the stability & security of South Asia as well as beyond.