Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has demanded that the UN must launch an international probe into the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, warning of the risk of “genocide” and ethnic cleansing in the highly volatile region.
“The people of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir are apprehending the worst,” Qureshi told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, adding “I shudder to mention the word genocide here, but I must.”
India imposed a military clampdown in the region from August 5 to prevent unrest as New Delhi withdrew the region’s autonomy. “For the last six weeks, India has transformed Jammu and Kashmir into the largest prison on this planet,” Qureshi insisted.
“The forlorn, traumatised towns, mountains, plains and valleys Jammu and Kashmir reverberate today, with the grim reminders of Rwanda, Srebrenica, the Rohingya, and the pogrom of Gujarat,” he said.
Qureshi accused India of having arrested more than 6,000 people without any legal means. Many had been “shipped to jails all over India”, he said.
Qureshi also slammed India’s references to “cross-border terrorism” to justify its crackdown as a “red herring to divert international opinion”, and said he feared India might “even attack Pakistan”.
He also insisted that India’s labelling of the Kashmir situation as an “internal affair” was “patently false”, pointing out that the matter had been on the UN agenda for seven decades.
The minister urged the council to heed recommendations by UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet and her predecessor Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein to launch a so-called international Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the Kashmir situation.
The council must “take steps to bring to justice the perpetrators of human rights violations of the innocent Kashmiri people, and in this context, constitute a Commission of Inquiry,” Qureshi said.
“If India has nothing to hide, it should allow unhindered access to the Commission of Inquiry,” he insisted. Pakistan was willing to provide access to its side of the so-called Line of Control, he added. Pakistan is expected to present a resolution to the council for consideration by the end of the 42nd session on September 27.