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Rao: Kashmir situation genocide in the making
Internet , Photo FENA
ISLAMABAD, August 6 (FENA) - A year ago, on August 5, India revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution, under which the state of Jammu and Kashmir had special dispensation to make its own laws which caused heightened tensions between India and Pakistan both of which claim the territory in its entirety, but they each control only parts of it.
Kashmir remains to this day one of the most disputed regions in the world. Since India and Pakistan gained independence from Britain in 1947, Kashmir has seen three wars in which two powerful armies clashed, in 1947, 1965 and 1971.
On the anniversary of the abolition of Kashmir's special status, a number of senior Pakistani officials have spoken out to draw the world's attention to the possible escalation of the conflict between the two nuclear-armed countries.
Pakistani President Arif Alvi called the situation in Kashmir "the worst human rights violation in the history of the Jammu and Kashmir region."
"Media blockades, extrajudicial killings in fake 'encounters', and restrictions on fundamental freedoms have been used to try to break the will of the Kashmiri people, while Indian attempts to change their distinct identity continue unabated," Alvi stated, adding that through its illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019 and illegitimate domicile laws, India is in direct contravention of the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolutions and international law, including the 4h Geneva Convention.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the revoking of the special status od Kashmir is a crime against humanity and it has destroyed lives, crippled livelihoods, and imperiled the very identity of the people of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir.
"Eight million Kashmiris have been made prisoners in their own homes. Their communication with the outside world has been deliberately revoked to hide the scale of human rights violations being perpetrated against them by the Indian occupation forces. Young men are being extrajudicially martyred in 'fake encounters' and so-called 'cordon and search' operations, almost on a daily basis, while the real Kashmiri political leadership remains incarcerated - Khan said.
The Prime Minister accused the incumbent Indian government of unabashedly pushing the 'Hindutva' agenda. He says it is seeking to change the demographic structure of the region and turn its Muslim majority into a minority in blatant violation of relevant UN Security Council Resolutions and international laws, particularly the 4th Geneva Convention.
"Let me be absolutely clear: Pakistan will always be with its brothers and sisters in IIOJK. We will never accept, and neither will the Kashmiris, the illegal Indian actions, and oppression of the Kashmiri people. India has already failed in keeping the voices of the Kashmiri people from reaching the international community. Now India will fail in forcing its majoritarian, 'Hindutva' mindset on a people unwilling to compromise on their just rights and fundamental freedoms," Khan says.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the world would not notice the "mutilation of justice" carried out by the Indian Government.
"The international community, human rights organizations, media, and civil society have been vocal in their condemnation of India's unconcealed absolutism. Parliamentarians of major world powers have written to their leadership and moved resolutions condemning India's actions. Major world leaders have stood by the Kashmiris, the United Nations Special Mandate Holders have called out the Indian Government on its anti-minority policies, and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has discussed the issue of Jammu & Kashmir three times during the past one year after a gap of more than 55 years," said the Foreign Minister.
Qureshi stressed that India must revoke all draconian laws, allow neutral observers, international human rights and humanitarian organizations and the international media to visit the occupied region to ascertain the condition of the Kashmiri people, and let the Kashmiris exercise their right to self-determination in accordance with the relevant UNSC Resolutions.
On this occasion, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Bosnia and Herzegovina Khalid Rao commented on the events in Kashmir, saying that urgent action by the international community is needed because millions of Kashmiri people live in "open jails."
"The world has to realize that India, which calls itself secular, is no more secular because over time religious radicals have gained power and are today ruling India. Every passing day makes India a notch more radical than it was earlier," Ambassador Rao told FENA.
Asked what he sees as a solution to the situation in Kashmir, he said he believes demilitarization of the area and a plebiscite are needed so that the people of Kashmir can vote on whether they want to be part of India, Pakistan or want to be independent.
"The government of Pakistan is demanding that India return the articles of the constitution that guarantee special status to Kashmir and that it should free the people. These people have been living under curfew for a year. If they leave their houses outside the time when they are allowed to, they will be shot with pellet guns," said Ambassador Rao.
He warned that the situation was escalating and that he believed that major crimes could occur if the international community does not prevent it.
He compared the situation in Kashmir to the one Srebrenica faced in 1995.
"I think that this is genocide in the making and that urgent UN action is necessary so they wouldn't have to go in there at a later point in time and look for mass graves like what happened in Srebrenica - Ambassador Rao told FENA.(FENA) L.N.