At the outset, the delegation of Pakistan wishes to thank High Commissioner ZeidRa’ad Al Hussain for his presentationyesterday and appreciate his leadership of the OHCHR. As his mandate comes comes to an end, we join other Member and Observer States of this Council to offer our best wishes to him and his family for a happy future.
- The High Commissioner has rightly drawn our attention to the continuing conflicts and crises across the global with serious human rights and humanitarian dimensions. This Council and OHCHR must advocate and work towards permanent and peaceful settlement of such conflicts, thereby easing human rights and humanitarian challenges.
- The OHCHR has presented its Report on Jammu and Kashmir. Mindful of the plight of Kashmiri civilians in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOK), Pakistan had long sought OHCHR’s sustained focus on Kashmir. The OHCHR Report corroborates and reaffirms our well known position on grave human rights abuse committed by India in Kashmir. The Report documents excessive use of force, arbitrary arrests, detentions and disappearances, cases of mass graves and continued sexual violence,as part of overall impunity enjoyed by Indian security forces in Kashmir. A terrible manifestation of this impunity is the continuing use of pallet guns by India which has resulted in mass blinding of innocent civilians. From Biblical and medieval ages up to modern times, mass blinding of Kashmiri civilians by India has no parallel or precedence in human history. Such savagery constitutesIndia’s crimes against humanity, which need to be investigated. In this context, Pakistan welcomes the Report’s proposal to establish a ‘Commission of Inquiry’ for international investigation into human rights violations in IOK. This proposal is consistent with Pakistan’s several calls to this effect since 2016, even as India has continued to ignore legitimate demands for a credible probe mechanism.
- The OHCHR Report clearly stipulates that its main focus is on the IOK. References to human rights concerns in Azad Jammu &Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan should in no way be construed to create a false sense of equivalence with the gross and systematic human rights violations in IoK.
- The OHCHR’s Report has rightly called for final political solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute through meaningful dialogue that includes the people of Kashmir. The lasting solution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute is an essential imperative for peace, security and stability of South Asia and beyond. India’s continued denial of this imperative, its unwillingness to engage in a dialogue process with Pakistan and oppression of Kashmiris continue to endanger regional and international peace and security.
- The United Nations has a key role to play in the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. Within the ambit of peace and security, the UN Security Council remains seized of its numerous resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir. The OHCHR report is a reminder of this internationally recognized dispute and the urgency of its settlement both to protect human lives and promote peace.