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UN confirms HR abuses in IoK

Pakistan Focus Analysis Imposition of governor’s rule and the ongoing bloodshed in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) along with statements emanating from India about an additional ‘crackdown’ on Kashmiris in IoK, indicate an alarming Indian unreceptiveness to international opinion. India continues with its gross violations of human rights in IoK. Such steps are likely to result in enhanced Indian brutalities and a ruthless free hand to Indian security forces. The level of repression in IoK has already significantly gone up. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has recommended to HR Council to establish a “Commission of Inquiry” (COI) for international investigation into human rights violations in Kashmir. A COI is one of the UN's highest-level probes, generally reserved for major crises. Due to Indian refusal for direct access, report is based on remote monitoring. The main focus of the report is on human rights situation in the Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK), from July 2016 to April 2018. Report has stated that according to HR activists’ estimates, up to 145 civilians were killed by security forces and up to 20 civilians killed by armed groups in the same period. Report accuses India of ‘unlawful killings' in Kashmir and urges provision of right to self-determination. The contents, scale and the narrative of killings, maiming, abuse and impunity articulated in the report is a reaffirmation of what Pakistan has long highlighted to the comity of nations. 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. On the broader Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan, the UNSG Spokesman Farhan Haq said that the UN chief has consistently called for the resolution of the decades-old problem. The report has called for an urgent need to address past and ongoing human rights violations and abuses and deliver justice for all people in Kashmir. The report said that people of Kashmir had been suffering a conflict for seven decades that had claimed or ruined numerous lives. However, ground reality is that India does not give a dime such reports. To supplement its over 6 million IoK stationed security forces, India is raising additional two women battalions for Kashmir police. India continues to ignore legitimate demands by various reputed domestic and international HR watch dog entities for probe into gross and systemic violations, including” permanent blinding of over 1000 youth due to pellet gun injuries, excessive use of force, arbitrary arrest and detentions as well as continued sexual violence; alongside undoing of comprehensive impunity enjoyed by Indian security forces under the (il)legal cover of nearly a dozen draconian laws. Pakistan has welcomed the proposal to establish a COI for international investigation into human rights violations. India, on its part, has rejected the call by the report for obvious reasons. "It is a selective compilation of largely unverified information. It is overtly prejudiced and seeks to build a false narrative," the Indian External Affairs Ministry said in a statement. "The report violates India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India," it claimed. "Pakistan is in illegal and forcible occupation of a part of the Indian state through aggression." The dissociation of India from reality is alarming. Indian attempts to exploit and cash in on the international environment by labelling the legitimate Kashmiris struggle terrorism makes a mockery of the victims of actual terrorism and is reprehensible. If it really has nothing to hide, India can address its claims of the report being based on unverified information by allowing the COI and OIC IPHRC access to IOK. Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has urged the UN HR Council to consider establishing a COI: “to consider establishing a Commission of Inquiry for a more comprehensive investigation of the human rights situation in Kashmir and reiterate my calls for access… Alleged sites of mass graves in the Kashmir Valley and Jammu region should be investigated. …. I am tremendously saddened by the assassination last week of Shujaat Bukhari, a courageous human rights defender actively working for peace, including through his participation in the Track Two diplomacy seeking to help both India and Pakistan put an end to the violence”. The tragic and brutal killing of Kashmiri journalist Shujaat Bukhari Editor-in-Chief of the Rising Kashmir by unknown gunmen outside his office in Srinagar on 14 June 2018 gave a serious blow to international human rights and freedom of expression. His assassination, due to his unremitting efforts for the Kashmiri cause will be remembered forever and is a clear manifestation of Indian state terrorism. Shujaat Bukhari’s brutal murder by Indian forces is reflection of the intolerance of Indian state apparatus who wants to stifle freedom of speech and expression. The Indian government remains fearful of international exposition of the brutalization of occupied Jammu & Kashmir. India can run, but can it hide? This remains to be seen. In his endorsement, UNSG Guterres has also stated that UN Human Rights Council must take next steps to address Indian rights abuses in Kashmir. He has held back his comments until council announces an international probe. According to the 49-page report: “In responding to demonstrations that started in 2016, Indian security forces used excessive force that led to unlawful killings and a very high number of injuries”. High Commissioner has denounced the lack of prosecutions of Indian forces in Jammu and Kashmir due to a 1990 law giving them what he called “virtual immunity”. The report clearly stipulates that its main focus is on the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir. Hence, references to human rights concerns in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan can in no way be construed to create a false sense of equivalence. India’s unwillingness to engage in a dialogue process with Pakistan and suppression of Kashmiri aspirations for right of self-determination continue to endanger regional and international peace and security. The lasting solution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute is an essential imperative for peace, security and stability of the region. The report has rightly called for final political solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute through meaningful dialogue that includes the people of Kashmir. Pakistan has once again expressed readiness for a COI to visit both AJK and IoK. India has again backed out. The isolation of India in the international community is complete. The skeletons in Indian closet are growing in numbers and size. UN has a key role to play in the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. The OCHCR report is a reminder of this internationally recognized dispute and the urgency of its settlement, both to protect human lives and promote peace. Being custodian of over a dozen UNSC resolutions spanning 1948-98, the UN has a duty to discharge with regard to settlement of one of oldest dispute on its agenda, hopefully OCHCR report will stimulate the stake holders to jump start the process towards that end. Permanent members of Security Council must put in their collective effort for resolving this humanitarian issue. The international community must ensure an expedited establishment of the Commission of Inquiry, to ensure that the Human Rights Charter is not reduced to meaningless words.

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Evolving Pakistan-India thaw or another mirage?

Another Pakistan-India thaw in the offing?

Ceasefire violations across the Line of Control (LoC) and the Working Boundary(WB) became a new norm during Prime Minster Narendra Modi’s government. India reneged on a 2003 cease fire agreement, resulting in loss of property and innocent lives of Kashmiris. During last year alone, India committed 1,881 ceasefire violations, the highest number since the ceasefire arrangement broke down. During five months of current year 1,050 such violations have been committed by India. Notwithstanding, Pakistani leadership kept striving for bilateral talks. Hostility between the two is a significant impediment to the socioeconomic development in both countries. Now one wonder whether India's offer to revert back to 2003 ceasefire agreement is an Evolving Pakistan-India thaw or another mirage? During the current year things began to take a turn for the better. Pakistan invited Indian Defence attaché to attend Pakistan day celebrations; and he attended. Pakistan also hosted India with other Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO) members to discuss regional terrorism. In September, Pakistan and India will also participate in SCO joint counterterrorism exercises in Russia. In the meanwhile, Pakistan also hosted a Track II dialogue with India. Last month India's home ministry had ordered its occupation forces in the IoK to stop operations during the fasting month of Ramazan. And a round of bilateral talks pertaining to maritime matters has just concluded. For its part, Pakistan has consistently advocated resumption of structured dialogue with India. And while it was preoccupied with fighting terrorism, it made strategic sense for Pakistan to seek at least a calm eastern frontier. A convergence in India’s strategic thinking towards Pakistan’s point of view could open the door to addressing, if not fully resolving, the major issues. India had also embarked upon a strategy to destabilise Pakistan domestically, and isolate internationally. Both did not work. On the contrary, a significant convergence has emerged between Pakistan and major regional powers, like Russia, China and Iran, on regional matters while India and the US are seen as spoilers. Despite Donald Trump’s anti-Pakistan rhetoric, an open-ended US confrontation with Pakistan and its designation as a state sponsor of terrorism, widely anticipated by India, have not happened. The US continues to rely on Pakistan’s cooperation with regard to Afghanistan end game. India triggered Doklam stand-off with China has also forced India to be realistic in its regional ambitions. India has once again acknowledged the significance of 2003 ceasefire arrangement and as there is no better alternative in place, India should steadfastly implement it.

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Booted out from Doklam, India meddles in Gilgit-Baltistan

Districts of Gilgit Baltistan

After a humiliating set back in Doklam to disrupt One Belt One Road (OBOR), India has shifted its focus on impeding China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by fermenting unrest in Gilgit-Baltistan(GB). Importance of GB territory shot up in 1984 with the opening of the Karakoram Highway and this region's population came to be more connected with mainland Pakistan. With the improvement in connectivity, local population availed opportunities of getting educated in the rest of Pakistan. Improved connectivity also allowed broader socio-political development. Political parties of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir were able to setup local branches, and raise political awareness in the region. Root-taking by these political entities have played a laudable role in organizing a movement for democratic rights among the residents of GB.Rather than making efforts to have political engagement in Kashmir and truly follow the oft repeated assertion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to emulate Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s doctrine based on “Insaniyat, Jamhooriyat and Kashmiriyat”, all those forces who are promoted and patronized by New Delhi are adding fuel to the fire. Pakistan has set an example by following a principled approach towards managing its GB region politically, India could learn a lot from this model.

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India is mother of terrorism

Better late than never, Pakistan has taken a bold initiative to call the spade a spade by linking terrorism in Asia with India's state policy.http://webtv.un.org/watch/pakistan-2nd-right-of-reply-/5584625488001/

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India’s Kulbhushan Jadhav quandary!

Kulbhushan Jadhav

India has a track record that when in hot waters it eagerly turns to the UN and its affiliated institutions for adjudication. And whenever decision is against Indian grandstanding on the issue, it flouts such decisions with impunity. India is flouting over a dozen UNSC resolutions on Kashmir, and is struggling to erode the letter and spirit of Indus Water Treaty brokered by the World Bank. Now India is poised to follow the same trajectory in case of it's spy Indian Navy Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav.

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Kashmir conflict over to Trump

During his recent visit to Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK), Prime Minister Narendra Modi was welcomed by massive civilian protests in the region, reflective of Kashmiri peoples’ aspirations with regard to false Indian claims on the territory, and ongoing repressive measures by India occupation forced. While inaugurating a tourism based Chenani-Nashri tunnel, Modi asked the youth of Kashmir to choose between …

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Kashmir inferno continues!

The Kashmir inferno continues

Over hundred youth have lost they one or both eyes due to the pallet shooting terror. Indeed the Kashmir inferno continues unabated. Pakistan gave a shut-up call to India saying it has no right to decide the future of Kashmir. Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said, on July 24 that the “verdict on the future of Kashmir” can only be given by the “people of Kashmir not by the external affairs minister of India”. UNSC has promised them the right to determine their future. These comments came after his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj accused Islamabad of an ‘unabashed embrace of terrorism’ and warned its stated goal of detaching Kashmir from India ‘will not be realised to the end of eternity’. Sushma’s diatribe was targeted directly at Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who told a rally in Azad Jammu and Kashmir that the occupied Kashmir would soon become part of Pakistan. Sushma said: “All of Kashmir belongs to India,” as the Indian forces continued to unleash a wave of terror in held Kashmir. Apparently disturbed over the recent upsurge in freedom movement in occupied Kashmir, the Indian external affairs minister repeated same untenable stance on the disputed territory which the Kashmiri people themselves have over and over again rejected. During the preceding week, Pakistan has protested against India in the United Nations and elsewhere against the blatant violation of human rights in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). Indian government cannot ignore the fact that over 200,000 Kashmiris participated in the funeral prayers of Burhan in 50 different locations throughout IOK, despite strict curfew clamped in the Valley. Conflicts in places as diverse such as Kashmir, Palestine, Burma and sub-Saharan Africa have traumatized generations of young people and many have been dragged into war and radicalization. The key challenge for the United Nations is how we address young people with grievances and prevent them from being engaged in conflict. However, international community, OIC, UN and UNHRC will not come forward to resolve Kashmir issue unless Pakistan makes the Kashmir issue an important part of its national agenda. Pakistan government has to change its policies regarding India on trade and other matters to make the Indian government realize that we cannot compromise on the killing of innocent Kashmiris. The Kashmir inferno continues The Kashmir inferno continues During the past two years, there have been little signs of the Modi government applying its mind to the Kashmir issue. It has not taken up the larger dialogue which had been initiated by Prime Minister Vajpayee and followed up by Manmohan Singh. A durable resolution of the Kashmir issue requires a settlement between India and Pakistan as well as the people of Kashmir. Modi Government is persisting with its policy of resolving the issue of Jammu and Kashmir through brutal use of force, but this approach has ricocheted and produced exactly the opposite consequences – internationalization of the dispute.

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India mixes Kashmir with Balochistan

Whenever Kashmir conflict begins to pressure India, it invites Baloch dissents and provides them requisite logistics & platform to malign Pakistan. As part of this campaign “Times of India” carried a lengthy interview of self-styled Professor Naela Quadri Baloch on May 02. She said about Baloch insurgency: “It is freedom struggle; we were occupied by Pakistan on March 27, 1948 and ever since we have been fighting against Pakistan to free ourselves. Balochistan was never a part of India or Iran or Afghanistan or any other country. Balochistan was always independent. So an independent country was occupied.” To a question as to how Balochistan’s freedom struggle is different from the separatist movement in Kashmir, she said: “Kashmir was never a country; it was a princely state under a Maharaja. Kashmir was always a part of greater India. It is an established fact that the northern areas of Balochistan including Bolan Pass, Quetta, Nushki and Naseerabad were leased out to Britain, which were later named as British Balochistan. However, more importantly, the Khan of Kallat had voluntarily acceded to Pakistan.The 13th OIC Summit, held in Istanbul from 10-15 April, called on India to implement pending UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir, and called upon the United Nations for implementation of the Security Council’s relevant Resolutions on Kashmir. It called upon India to allow the OIC Fact Finding Mission and the international human rights groups and humanitarian organizations access to IOK. Indian leadership needs to recognize the Kashmir is Kashmir and Balochistan is Balochistan. The difference is well understood by the comity of nations. Such Indian gimmicks would neither make Kashmir a part of India nor would stall China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

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Afghanistan: a rudderless ship!

China has offered to host a meeting between Afghan government and Taliban, but has declined to mediate. China’s special envoy for Afghanistan Deng Xijun called the Taliban “one of the main forces in Afghanistan’s political arena.” Like Pakistan, China opposes a military solution to the Afghan conflict, and favours intra-Afghan dialogue. “We think dialogue is the only way out for Afghanistan to achieve lasting peace and stability,” Deng said. “We have difficulties and obstacles when we have in such kind of things. We have many problems and challenges ahead but if we sit down, if we talk with each other, then I think the future is bright”, he added. He reassured Pakistan of China’s continued support in addressing common challenges faced by the region. Both Pakistan and China have convergent interests and shared goals with regards to Afghanistan. A report by the ‘US Congressional Research Service’ published in October has revealed that India’s goals in Afghanistan are: to deny Pakistan strategic depth and the ability to block India from trade and other connections to Central Asia and beyond; India also wants to prevent militants in Afghanistan from attacking Indian targets in Afghanistan; it wants to prevent Pakistan from regaining “preponderant” influence in present day Afghanistan. Report added that “it (India) does not want to be saddled with the burden of helping secure Afghanistan” after the US departure. It says that Afghanistan also seeks close ties with India because it wants access to India’s large and rapidly growing economy – “but without alarming Pakistan.” Apparently intra-Afghan battles of turf shall gradually come to an end and the peace process shall resume. Peace in Afghanistan is vital for the stability of the entire region. The underlying factor for resumption of Murree process is how long President Ashraf Ghani takes to calibrate the extent and limits of his political outreach with Taliban. Extension in the tenure of foreign forces limits the chances that during next fighting season the Taliban could over run urban centres one after the other; while at the same time, it also limits the Taliban to not to finalize a political deal before at least end 2016, on the pretext of presence of foreign forces. Until then, pot is poised to keep simmering—patterns would will continue jockeying between fighting and talking seasons.

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Kashmir : The Forgotten Conflict

During his recent address to the UN General Assembly, PM Nawaz Sharif had said: South Asia needs strategic stability and this requires serious dialogue to achieve nuclear restraint, conventional balance and conflict resolution. He proposed a new peace initiative, comprising four specific and feasible steps: 1) Pakistan and India formalise and respect 2003 understanding of a complete ceasefire in Kashmir and LoC; 2). Pakistan and India reaffirm that they will not resort to the threat of force under any circumstances; 3). Steps must be taken to demilitarise Kashmir; 4). Agree to mutually withdraw troops from Siachen. India out rightly rejected the proposals, indicating that it wishes to impose a bilateral regime unilaterally. Core issue of these four steps is the Kashmir dispute with huge humanitarian dimension. The international community is now alert to the need to normalize the situation in South Asia, and this is not possible without ending the massive Indian human rights violations in Kashmir. Kashmiri activists worldwide have intensified their contact campaign with diplomats, politicians and the media everywhere, they feel that this is the best time to convince India to end the military occupation in Kashmir; they are more optimistic today than ever. The Kashmir issue cannot be placed on the back-burner since durable peace in the region can be achieved only by addressing it “upfront”. When it comes to Kashmir, there is no backburner. If history is any guide, the dispute must be addressed upfront for a lasting peace. There are countless opportunities between India and Pakistan and they must move from conflict management to conflict resolution. A beginning could be made by starting the process of demilitarization and revocation of all draconian laws enforced in IHK.

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