ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Thursday called for enhanced international monitoring and continued reporting by the United Nations on the human rights crisis in India-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK) to save lives, dignity and freedom of Kashmiri people.

Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui at the weekly press briefing said that continued brutalisation of innocent people in the occupied region entered the 346th day after India revoked the special status of IOJK on August 5 last year.

She said Kashmiris were facing illegal occupation of Indian security forces for over seven decades.

She said that recently the Indian occupation forces, during their continued so-called cordon and search operations, martyred eight Kashmiris, including Idrees Ahmad Bhat, Ajaz Ahmad, Muhammad Usman, Saifullah Mir, Zahid Ahmad and Waleed Ahmad in Kupwara, Baramulla and Islamabad districts of IOJK.

The FO spokesperson said the UN human rights machinery in recent months had highlighted India’s non-compliance with its international human rights obligations.

“Through several official communications, nearly a dozen UN special rapporteurs have raised serious concerns over India’s consistent pattern of arbitrary arrests, detentions, torture, corporal punishment, extra-judicial killings, and physical and digital lockdown in occupied Jammu and Kashmir,” she added.

On 89th Kashmir Martyrs Day, she said, the government and people of Pakistan joined Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control and across the globe to pay homage to the 22 innocent, unarmed Kashmiris who stood up for truth and justice against the tyranny of Dogra forces in 1931.

She said across the world, conferences, webinars and peace walks were organised to draw the attention of the world conscience to the long struggle for fundamental rights of the people of IOJK.

During last week, she said, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi held telephone conversations with the Chinese foreign minister and state councillor and secretary general of the Economic Cooperation Organisation.

“In these interactions, the foreign minister shared our deep concern over the situation in IOJK and underlined the importance of urgent steps by the international community to help address the grave situation,” she said.

Other matters of mutual interest were also discussed, including Covid-19 pandemic, regional security in South Asia, suspension of Pakistan International Airline flights into European Union and the prime minister’s call for Global Debt Relief Initiative for developing countries.

The spokesperson said on July 7 the third round of China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Vice Foreign Ministers Strategic Dialogue was held via video link, where Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Luo Zhaohui, Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Mirwais Nab and Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood co-chaired the dialogue.

“The three sides held in-depth discussions and reached consensus on cooperation against Covod-19, the Afghan peace and reconciliation process and trilateral cooperation and reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening communication and coordination and enhancing mutual trust and cooperation under the trilateral cooperation mechanism,” she said.

Ms Farooqui said the foreign secretary also held a video conference with the Spanish state secretary for foreign affairs on July 7.

They exchanged views on a broad range of subjects including response to Covid-19 pandemic, bilateral relations and close cooperation in multilateral fora as well as the regional situation.

The two sides also reviewed the situation in Afghanistan and progress in Afghan peace process.

Published in Dawn, July 17th, 2020