UNHCHR’s Kashmir visit proposal: Pakistan welcomes, India downplays

  • PTI, New Delhi/Islamabad
  • Updated: Aug 18, 2016 20:19 IST
Stones thrown by protestors litter the street in Srinagar as security forces enforce a curfew following weeks of violence in Kashmir. (REUTERS)

India downplayed remarks by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) over denial of permission by Indian government to visit Jammu and Kashmir, saying it has been constructively engaged with the UN body to project a “correct picture” of the state.

“Indian Mission in Geneva has been constructively engaged with the UN body to project a correct picture of J-K by highlighting the central role of cross-border terrorism and its glorification in the violent protests in the Valley,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.

“We have also stressed to UNHCHR the efforts and undivided attention of all organs of the Indian state for restoring normalcy in J-K in the face of incitement and support to terrorism from across our border.

“We will continue to encourage international community to uphold promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the parts of J-K under illegal occupation of Pakistan, and hold the concerned accountable for their violation,” said Swarup.

UNHCHR Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein on Wednesday said it was “unfortunate” that access hasn’t been granted yet considering “the seriousness of the allegations of the use of excessive force, allegations of state sponsorship of violence, as well as the number of people killed and the very large number of people injured”.

Pakistan said it would welcome any team of human rights observers sent by the UN to the part of Kashmir under its control.

“While welcoming any UN team that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights may wish to send” to PoK, “we cannot accept equating the rampant human rights violations” in Kashmir with the situation in PoK, Pakistan Foreign Office said.

“In fact, today the contrast between grim reality” in Kashmir and the peaceful situation in PoK could not be more stark, it claimed. “It is, therefore, essential” that the UN fact finding team must visit Kashmir, it added.

Pakistan last month requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to send a fact-finding mission to Kashmir to report on the “gross violations of human rights” since July 8.

The Foreign Office claimed that PoK is an area “open to everyone” and is frequented by foreign tourists and members of the diplomatic community in Pakistan, including representatives of the United Nations, where they have observed recent elections and met a cross section of people.

“Access to UNHCHR has been denied by India” to Kashmir. Pakistan has never prevented UN officials from travelling to PoK, it claimed.

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