ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Saturday demanded a judicial probe into the killing of three orchard workers in the Shopian area of occupied Kashmir after the Indian army admitted to wrongfully killing them.

“Pakistan calls for a tra­n­s­parent judicial inq­u­iry, und­er international scr­ut­iny, into the extrajudicial kill­ing of three innocent Kas­­h­miris in Indian Ille­gally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) on 18 July 2020,” the Foreign Office said.

The three Kashmiris Imt­i­yaz Ahmed, 25, Mohammad Ibrar, 20, and Abrar Ahmed, 16, were martyred by the Indian Army on July 18 in a so-called “cordon and sea­rch” operation in Shopian on July 18. All the young men had come from Rajouri to work in apple orchard as labourers, while the Indian Army had labelled the slain men as “terrorists”.

However, an Indian Army probe “brought out certain prima facie evidence indicating that during the operation powers vested under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) 1990 were exceeded and the Do’s and Don’ts of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) as approved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court have been contravened,” the Indian media reported.

The FO said the Indian report was itself an admission that its troops committed war crimes in Occupied Kashmir.

India had tried to cover up the “cold blooded” murder of the innocent Kashmiris alleging that they were “unidentified terrorists”. The Indian troops for hiding their crime buried the young men in a graveyard marked for “foreign terrorists” instead of returning their remains to their families.

India, the FO statement said, has taken its “brutalisation of innocent Kashmiris to a new level” since the annexation of the occupied region in August 2019. More than 300, mostly young, Kashmiris have been extra-judicially killed by the Indian occupation forces in fake “encounters” and staged “cordon-and-search” operations in the IIOJK during the past one year, it added.

Pakistan, it said, has been consistently sensitising the world community, including the United Nations and the international human rights organisations, about India’s serious crimes against the Kashmiri people.

“The BJP leadership must realise that they are directly responsible for crimes against the Kashmiri people. No illegal and inhuman Acts such as Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Public Safety Act (PSA) can provide impunity against the crimes that are being perpetrated in IIOJK,” the FO said.

Pakistan has urged the international community to take immediate cognisance of the July 18 episode in the India-occupied Kashmir as well as other acts indicative of the RSS-BJP regime’s genocidal tendencies and hold it accountable for continuing crimes against the Kashmiri people.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2020