ISLAMABAD: With a complete lockdown entering its 45th day, 180,000 extra military, paramilitary and other security personnel have been deployed in India-held Kashmir enhancing their presence to more than 900,000, Foreign Affairs Secretary Sohail Mahmood informed a parliamentary panel on Wednesday.
He was briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights on legal, human rights violations and peace and security dimensions after India revoked the special status of occupied Kashmir on Aug 5.
“Indian aggression has intensified along the Line of Control and it will not hesitate to carry out a misadventure and then blame it on Pakistan. According to international news organisations 6,000 individuals have been arrested and sent to jails across India and they are being subjected to extreme forms of torture.
While religious freedom has also been curtailed, people are running out of food and they are deprived of medicines,” he told the committee.
As communication with the Kashmir valley has been cut off, Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is in touch with world leaders, has highlighted brutalities in occupied Kashmir by Indian security forces, Mr Mahmood said.
According to the official, the Pakistan government had approached the UN secretary general and president of the Security Council to remind them of atrocities being committed by Indian military personnel in held Kashmir.
“While the Organisation of Islamic Conference has condemned Indian actions, it has also demanded lifting of curfew and other restrictions. Independent reporting by international media has increased awareness about Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir,” Mr Mahmood said.
He shared details of two reports by UNHCR from 2018 and 2019, which reaffirm Pakistan’s legal, political, moral claims on IOK in totality and proposed to both Pakistan and India for a settlement under the UN charter. He quoted the message of the UN secretary general who reminded the two countries that this region was governed by the United Nations’ charter and bilateral agreements, which call for final settlement of Kashmir in accordance with the UN charter while prohibiting material change in the special status of Kashmir by Pakistan or India.
“Kashmir is in the spotlight like never before capturing the attention of the entire world and that is all because of joint efforts of the Pakistani government, Pakistanis living abroad and the international media,” Mr Mahmood said.
Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2019