Indian Occupied Kashmir: Pakistan hails US public hearing on human rights
Pakistan Thursday welcomed the US House of Representatives Sub-Committee on Asia & the Pacific’s public hearing on human rights in South Asia with focus on the Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Welcoming the hearing, the Foreign Office said in a statement that the deliberations were mostly focused on the grave human rights and humanitarian situation in the Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K).
It stated that members of the sub-committee noted that India’s illegal and unilateral actions of August 5 and subsequent lockdown in the IOJ&K have created a humanitarian crisis with security implications for the entire region.
Heart-rending accounts of detentions, beatings and torture of innocent Kashmiris remained the most poignant part of the hearing, which evoked a unified reaction from members for an urgent end to these violations, it stated, adding that at the hearing, senior officials of the State Department expressed the US concern over the human rights situation.
The members of the Congress also expressed their indignation and shock over the refusal of permission by the Indian authorities to the US lawmakers and journalists to travel to Kashmir.
The senior administration officials, inter alia, repeated President Trump’s offer of mediation. “For its part, Pakistan has welcomed the US President’s offer as we believe that the international community has a role to play in averting risks to peace and stability in the region and facilitating a just and lasting solution to the Jammu & Kashmir dispute,” the Foreign Office said.
It also stated that Pakistan appreciates the efforts of the members of US Congress who have raised their voice on the persecution of the people of the IOJ&K.
So far, more than 70 members of the US Congress and several prominent political figures including those intending to join the presidential election race, have publicly spoken on the Kashmir issue.
The Congressional hearing has brought out three key elements: (i) Kashmir is a disputed territory; (ii) the current human rights situation is alarming; (iii) and the US leadership and lawmakers are cognizant of the potential threats to peace and stability in the region and are willing to play their due role to help resolve the dispute.
The situation in the Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir has been taken up by several governments, the United Nations, myriad international civil society and human rights organizations, and the international media.
Two separate reports by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) were released in June 2018 and July 2019, which helped highlight the gross and systematic violations of human rights in IOJ&K.
The UK Parliament’s All Parties Parliamentary Kashmir Group (APPKG) report on the Jammu & Kashmir in October 2018 as well as hearings of the European Parliament’s Sub-committee on human rights in February and September 2019 have further contributed to growing international awareness about the dire situation in the Occupied Jammu & Kashmir.
The latest hearing in the US House of Representatives is timely and shows the world community’s continued concern over the unacceptable situation in the IOJ&K and the need to address it urgently.