UNITED NATIONS: Amid a surge in violence in India-held Kashmir, Pakistan and India found themselves at a United Nations forum on Wednesday exchanging their oft-repeated positions on the decades-long dispute.

Addressing the UN Gen­eral Assembly’s high level debate on human rights, Pakistan’s Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi condemned the atrocities committed by Indian military forces in the Valley and called for implementation of Security Council resolutions on the dispute.

She said that the denial of self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir had resulted in the most “atrocious human rights violations, including rape, torture, arbitrary detentions and summary executions”.

“Its most chilling recent example is the extrajudicial killing last week of Kashmiri leader Burhan Wani, shot to death by Indian forces along with scores of other innocent Kashmiris,” she said.

Ms Lodhi said that Indian forces were resorting to these brutal acts to suppress the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people, promised to them by several UN Security Council resolutions.

She said that despite Indian suppression, the Kashmiri people are determined to continue their struggle for freedom from occupation.

“Sixty-eight years after the UN Security Council first called for a UN conducted plebiscite to allow the Kashmiri people to exercise their right to self-determination, the fulfilment of this pledge remains the only way to resolve this long-standing dispute and establish durable peace and security in South Asia”.

Pakistan also called for de-politicising the human rights agenda as human rights violations were taking place in all parts of the world.

Soon after Ms Lodhi’s speech, her Indian counterpart Syed Akbaruddin, through a statement rejected the Pakistani allegations, reports The Indian Express.

In his statement, the Indian ambassador to the UN said: “We have seen an attempt at misuse of this UN platform. The attempt came from Pakistan, a country that covets the territory of others; a country that uses terrorism as state policy towards that misguided end; a country that extols the virtues of terrorists and that provides sanctuary to UN-designated terrorists; and a country that masquerades its efforts as support for human rights and self-determination.”

He alleged that Pakistan was the same country whose track record had failed to convince the international community to gain membership of the Human Rights Council in this very session of the UNGA”.

Published in Dawn, July 15th, 2016