Humanitarian crisis impending in occupied Kashmir: FO

Updated August 23, 2019

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“The region is awaiting a looming humanitarian crisis as there is a shortage of food and medicines, which risks lives of the people, especially elderly, women and children,” Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said at the weekly media briefing on Thursday. — AFP/File
“The region is awaiting a looming humanitarian crisis as there is a shortage of food and medicines, which risks lives of the people, especially elderly, women and children,” Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said at the weekly media briefing on Thursday. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: The Fore­ign Office on Thursday war­n­ed of impending humanitarian crisis in India-held Kashmir as the curfew and communications blackout in the Valley entered 19th day.

“The region is awaiting a looming humanitarian crisis as there is a shortage of food and medicines, which risks lives of the people, especially elderly, women and children,” Foreign Office Spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said at the weekly media briefing.

Indian occupation forces have since long been repressing the uprising in the valley through brutal means. There has been an unprecedented deployment of additional troops in what was already the world’s most militarised zone, curfew has been imp­osed, and communications blackout has been implemented ever since Indian government annexed occupied Kashmir on Aug 5. All top Kashmiri leaders, inclu­ding the pro-Indian leadership, have been arrested.

“We cannot imagine the psychological and physical trauma through which the Kashmiris are going, as decisions regarding their fate are being taken and they are denied access to any sort of information,” Dr Faisal said.

Core group discusses political and diplomatic outreach undertaken by government on the situation

The 14 million population of occupied Kashmir besieged in “the largest prison in the history of mankind” were facing a “famine-like situation”, he warned.

The spokesman called on the international community to “take cognizance of the continuing blatant human rights violations by Indian authorities” in occupied Kashmir and save the people there.

It is feared that women and the children would be the most affected by the situation. The government has taken an extensive outreach to apprise the international community about the situation with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi contacting several of his counterparts and Prime Minister Imran Khan speaking to number of world leaders.

Mr Khan twice spoke to President Donald Trump on Aug 16 and 19. “President Trump’s consistent engagement is a manifestation of his interest in the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” Dr Faisal observed.

Core group

Prime Minister Imran Khan, meanwhile, chaired a meeting of the Kashmir Core Group at his office.

The meeting discussed the political and diplomatic outreach undertaken by the government on the aggravating situation in occupied Kashmir.

The meeting expressed satisfaction on the efforts noting that the UN Security Council, international human rights organisations, international humanitarian organisations and the international media had taken cognizance of the serious situation and called on India to immediately lift the curfew and other restrictions to alleviate sufferings of Kashmiris.

“Pakistan’s abiding solidarity with the Kashmiri brethren in siege was reaffirmed,” the PMO said.

FO Spokesman Dr Faisal, speaking at the media briefing, said that India had not renewed the agreement on sharing of flood data.

“There was an agreement between Pakistan and India for sharing of flood data, which was signed in 1989. According to this agreement, India is supposed to share data from July 1 till Oct 10 every year, of flood waters,” he said.

The spokesman said that the agreement was renewed annually but this year India refused to do so and henceforth flood data was not conveyed to Pakistan. However, the Indians have shared some data under Article IV(8) of IWT, which is related to extraordinary discharges and is distinct from the 1989 agreement, he further said.

Published in Dawn, August 23rd, 2019