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Pakistan rejects Indian claims of restraint in India-held Kashmir

GENEVA: The Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Tehmina Janjua, on Wednesday welcomed the remarks by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding excessive use of force by Indian security forces in India-held Kashmir (IHK).

“Pakistan supported the position of the High Commissioner that an OHCHR team should visit India-occupied Kashmir to independently and impartially investigate the grave violations being perpetrated by Indian occupation forces over the past two months,” said Janjua.

She added the visit by the UN team would help address the culture of impunity which is prevalent in IHK.

Ambassador Janjua said claims of restraint shown by India are simply preposterous.

“Jammu and Kashmir is an international issue recognised as such by a number of UNSC resolutions,” the permanent representative told the Human Rights Commission.

No agreement with India for using Pakistani land routes

The Foreign Office said that there is no agreement with India for using Pakistan’s land routes for supplies to Afghanistan.

The statement by the FO was a response to Indian Foreign Secretary’s statement regarding the Indian request for supply of wheat to Afghanistan through Pakistani territory.

“Access to Afghanistan is through sea and by air,” said Nafees Zakaria, spokesperson for the FO.

The spokesperson added the request was made days before the extra-judicial killing of Burhan Wani.

“Instead of using the excuse of no response from Pakistan, India could have sent the supplies by open routes and it would have reached Afghanistan by now,” stated Zakaria.

“India uses the excuse of humanitarian grounds, of which it has no respect given the situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir, for politicking and maligning Pakistan.”

The FO spokesperson elaborated that India has unleashed atrocities and by now has killed over 100 Kashmiris, blinded, either completely or partially, more than 700 Kashmiri youth using pellet guns and injure over 10,000 people.

Uptick in violence

In the worst civilian violence to hit the restive region of Indian-held Kashmir since 2010, at least 90 Kashmiri civilians have been killed and thousands more injured in Indian-held Kashmir in clashes with security forces after the killing of a prominent Kashmiri separatist leader Burhan Wani, in a military operation on July 8.

Wani, a 22-year-old commander of Kashmir’s largest pro-independence militant group Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), was killed along with two other separatists during a gun battle with Indian government forces.

Wani joined the HM group at the age of just 15, and was viewed as a hero by many in Kashmir. The state’s former chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted after his death that he had become the “new icon of Kashmir’s disaffected”.

Witnesses said tens of thousands attended his funeral despite a curfew imposed by Indian authorities, chanting independence slogans.

Indian government troops in IHK have reportedly fired live ammunition, and used pellet guns and tear gas to control anti-government protesters.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called an emergency meeting to discuss escalating violence in India-held Kashmir amid anti-India protests.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office has also condemned the violence in Indian-held Kashmir.

HM is one of several groups that for decades have been fighting around half a million Indian troops deployed in the region, calling for independence for Kashmir or a merger with Pakistan. Indian paramilitary soldiers patrol during curfew in Srinagar.

Kashmir has been divided between rivals India and Pakistan since 1947, but both claim the territory in its entirety.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have died in the fighting since 1989.

Violence had sharply declined in recent years following a major crackdown by the hundreds of thousands of Indian forces deployed in the region.

But a recent uptick in militant attacks has galvanised frustrated young Kashmiris, majority of whom deeply resent the Indian military’s presence.

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