Pakistan welcomes US congressional hearing on human rights in Kashmir
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday welcomed the U.S. House of Representative’s Sub-Committee on Asia & the Pacific public hearing on human rights in South Asia.
The deliberations were mostly focused on the grave human rights and humanitarian situation in the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IOJ&K).
Members of the Sub-Committee noted that India’s illegal and unilateral actions of August 5 and subsequent lockdown in 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
. At the hearing, senior officials of the State Department expressed U.S. concern over the human rights situation. Members of the Congress also expressed their indignation and shock over the refusal of permission by the Indian authorities to U.S. lawmakers and journalists to travel to Kashmir.
Senior Administration officials inter alia repeated President Trump’s offer of mediation.
For its part, Pakistan has welcomed the U.S. 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.
“Pakistan appreciates the efforts of the Members of U.S. Congress who have raised their voice on the persecution of the people of IOJ&K. So far, more than 70 members of the U.S. 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; and (iii) U.S. leadership and lawmakers are cognizant of the potential threats to peace and stability in the region and willing to play their due role to help resolve the dispute.
The situation in the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir has been taken up by several governments, the United Nations,and 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 to highlight the gross and systematic violations of human rights in IOJ&K.
The UK Parliament’s All Parties Parliamentary Kashmir Group (APPKG) report on Jammu & Kashmir in October 2018 as well as the 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 U.S. House of Representatives is timely and shows the world community’s continued concern over the unacceptable situation in IOJ&K and the need to address it urgently.