Pakistan claims backing of 60 countries on its Jammu and Kashmir statement
Pakistan has submitted to the UNHRC a “joint statement” on the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir which it said was supported by some 60 countries that it didn’t publicly identify, triggering questions about the backing for the move.
The text of the statement was posted on the website of the Foreign Office after it was delivered to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday, but Pakistan did not identify the nations purportedly supporting it.
A member of the Pakistani delegation at the UNHRC in Geneva said a list of these countries would be handed over to the Indian delegation but people familiar with developments said this hadn’t happened.
The people cited above said the statement reportedly had the backing of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Pakistan’s all-weather ally China.
However, diplomats from several OIC member states, such as Indonesia, distanced themselves from the move during their interactions with their Indian counterparts, the people said.
“The fact that the list hasn’t been made public means there is something amiss. Pakistan could have sounded out the countries privately but these countries haven’t publicly spoken on the issue,” said an official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
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The Indian side is keeping a close eye on Pakistan’s efforts to present a resolution or push for an “urgent debate” on Kashmir at the UNHRC but the prevalent view in New Delhi is that Islamabad won’t be able to muster the numbers to take either of them forward, the people said.
“A simple majority of UNHRC members present and voting is required for a resolution or an urgent debate. Abstentions will reduce it further,” said a person who didn’t want to be named.
The UNHRC has 47 members from across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America and Indian diplomats have mounted an extensive outreach programme in New Delhi and key capital to shore up support for the country’s position on the Kashmir issue.
The people said out of the UNHRC’s members, only China and Pakistan had mentioned the Kashmir issue in their national statements while others made no reference to it at all, reflecting greater understanding for India’s position.
Pakistan’s joint statement referred to the “worsening” rights and humanitarian situation in Jammu and Kashmir and reiterated several of the demands raised by foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in his speech at the UNHRC on Tuesday.
It said the world community should seek the protection of fundamental human rights of the Kashmiri people, immediate ending of the communications shutdown and release of detained people, immediate halt to use of force, access for human rights groups and international media and setting up of a UN commission of inquiry to probe alleged rights violations.
It also sought the “peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute through the implementation of the UNSC resolutions”.
There was no response to the joint statement from Indian officials. However, the Indian delegation at the UNHRC said on Tuesday that Pakistan is using the Kashmir issue to support jehad and cross-border terrorism. It also said the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and reorganisation of the state were “entirely internal to India”.
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