ISLAMABAD: The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has offered to send fact-finding missions to both India-held Kashmir (IHK) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), the Foreign Office (FO) spokesman said Thursday.

FO Spokesperson Nafees Zakaria said Pakistan was open to the idea of UN high commissioner visiting AJK.

“AJK is an area open to everyone and is frequented by foreign tourists and members of the diplomatic community in Pakistan, including representatives of the United Nations,” Zakaria said.

“The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has been denied access by India to Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, whereas Pakistan has never prevented UN officials from travelling to Azad Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.

On July 15, Pakistan requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to send a fact-finding mission to IHK to report on the gross violations of human rights.

Tensions between Pakistan and India have been running high since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani sparked anti-government protests in IHK, with over 60 people dead in clashes between protesters and Indian authorities.

Indian government troops in IHK have reportedly fired live ammunition, and used pellet guns and tear gas to control anti-government protesters.

The FO spokesperson said “Pakistan cannot accept equating the rampant human rights violations in India-held Kashmir with the situation in AJK.”

He added that the contrast between grim reality in IHK and AJK could not be starker. “It is, therefore, essential that the UN fact finding team must visit IHK.”

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