ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Saturday welcomed the public hearing by the Tom Lantos Commission on Human Rights of the US Congress on the human rights situation in India-held Jammu and Kashmir wherein the lawmakers called for an independent fact-finding mission to the region.

In its meeting held on Nov 14 at Washington DC, the commission reinforced the internationally recognised disputed nature of the issue and highlighted the gross human rights violations in held Kashmir. A call for an independent fact-finding mission was made and the right to self-determination of Kashmiri people was also underscored during the commission’s proceedings.

“Held less than a month after the hearing of the subcommittee on Asia of the US House of Representatives, the Lantos Commission hearing reflected continued international concern over the situation in held Kashmir,” the Foreign Office spokesman said in a statement.

Calls for end to India’s state-terrorism in valley

He said that Pakistan recognised the efforts of the US Congress members who listened to the voice of conscience over the ongoing persecution of the Kashmiris in the Occupied Valley and called upon the Indian government to end its brutal repression.

“We appreciate that the US leadership and lawmakers are cognizant of the potential threats to fundamental human rights, freedom of speech, right to self-determination, and peace and stability in the region and are willing to play their due role to help bring the continuing humanitarian nightmare to an end,” he added.

He said the general view during the hearing was that international journalists, independent human rights organisations and United Nations Special Rapporteurs should be allowed to visit the region.

The Foreign Office spokesman said the latest hearing in the Lantos Commission of the US Congress was another example of global concern over the unacceptable situation in the region and the need to address it urgently.

“The Indian regime must end its illegal occupation, stop its state-terrorism in the occupied territories and allow the exercising of the right to self-determination to the Kashmiri people as stipulated by the United Nations Security Council resolutions,” he said.

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2019