Pakistan on Wednesday supported the United Nations' (UN) dismissal of Indian allegations against its report on the poor human rights situation in Kashmir.
The first-ever UN report on alleged rights violations committed by both India and Pakistan in Kashmir released last month focuses mainly on India-held Kashmir (IHK), and accuses Indian troops of being responsible for an estimated 145 unlawful killings, far surpassing the 20 people estimated to have been killed by militant groups during that period.
It also speaks of "a range of human rights abuses" in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), but notes they "are of a different calibre or magnitude and of a more structural nature".
When the report first came out, India termed it a biased account.
According to the Times of India (TOI), the Indian Ministry of External Affairs rejected the report, describing it as "fallacious, tendentious and motivated", and questioned the intent in releasing such a report. It was also said to have violated India's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The report came up once again at a United Nations Security council session on Children and Armed Conflict on Tuesday, when Pakistan's Permanent Representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi made a reference to it during the session, NDTV reported.
According to NDTV, India's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Tanmaya Lal hit back at Lodhi during the session, reiterating the Indian Foreign Ministry's stance. He said the "so called" report reflects the "clear bias of an official who was acting without any mandate whatsoever and relied on unverified sources of information."
UN dismisses Indian allegations
UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in a press release issued on Tuesday responded to India's allegations against the report, saying that it had been developed through remote monitoring, after Indian and Pakistani authorities failed to grant the UN team unconditional access to the region.
"'Nefarious conspiracy', 'Pakistan-authored report', 'fallacious', 'mala fide' – these are some of the accusations levelled by numerous Indian media outlets against the UN Human Rights Office for our publication last month," the UN said.
"Since the report was published, we have been deeply disappointed by the reaction of the Indian authorities, who dismissed the report as 'fallacious, tendentious and motivated' without examining it and responding to the very serious concerns about the human rights situation" in IHK and AJK.
According to the UN press release, the report contains 388 footnotes that list the sources used in its compilation.
"These include official sources such as the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha – India’s parliament – as well as the Supreme Court of India, the Ministry of External Affairs, the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly, the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission, the Union Ministry of Defence, the Chief of Army Staff and even a former vice president," the UN said, adding that the accusations made by India regarding the use of "unverified information" in the compiling of the report are "puzzling".
"We are disturbed by the sustained attempts to distract and divert the focus away from the human rights violations on both sides of the Line of Control," it added.
Supporting the UN’s stance, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal reiterated the UN's stance against Indian allegations, adding that: "India failed to address the very serious concerns raised by OHCHR #Kashmir about the grave human rights situation in IOK."
He added that Pakistan welcomes the establishment of by a UN-proposed Commission of Inquiry ─ the highest level of probe under the UN system ─ "for international investigation into human rights violations" in both AJK and IHK.
India has, however, rejected it and claims that the high commissioner lacks the mandate to commission such a report.
Read the complete report here.