International community needs to ask India to stop violations in Kashmir: minister

Published June 18, 2022
British High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner meets Minister For Human Rights Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada in Islamabad on Friday. — APP
British High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner meets Minister For Human Rights Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada in Islamabad on Friday. — APP

ISLAMABAD: The international community must urge Indian authorities to stop violation of human rights in India-held Kashmir.

This was highlighted by Minister for Human Rights Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada during a meeting with British High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner and Antonia Murray who is the second secretary (human rights) at the British High Commission.

Pakistan was cornered by the West over its internal issues but the situation in Kashmir was conveniently ignored by everyone, Mr Pirzada said. Human Rights Secretary Afzal Latif and other senior officers from ministry were also present in the meeting.

Mr Pirzada pointed out the historic connection between Pakistan and the United Kingdom, adding that issues being faced by the people of Balochistan would be his top priority.

Says issues faced by people of Balochistan will be his top priority

Dr Turner said the British government was eager to work with Pakistan to strengthen the system and desired to bring reform in areas like freedom of press and provision of rights to minorities.

Issues like forced conversions, child marriages, misuse of the blasphemy law, women’s education, domestic violence and gender-based issues need attention, Dr Turner said.

“We have become tolerant towards one another. In Pakistan, Afghan refugees enjoy utmost freedom and we have a docile and adjustable society where the element of extremism and intolerance penetrated after the Afghan war. We are paying a heavy price for the war of our allies but still we do not get adequate recognition for our countless sacrifices largely in the war on terror,” Mr Pirzada said.

The British delegation was informed that in the previous year, 32 cases of blasphemy were reported out of which 28 were against Muslims and four against people from minority communities. Besides this, officials said, sufficient legal work had been done on national policy for the protection of minorities’ rights, after the Peshawar church incident in 2014.

In his concluding remarks, Mr Pirzada said his ministry was persistently taking up cases of human rights violations, reported in the media, with law enforcement agencies.

“We are much sensitised about freedom of expression, minorities and women’s rights. There are laws such as Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Act 2021, Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act 2020 to safeguard the rights of journalists and to provide relief and rehabilitation to women, children, elders and any vulnerable persons against domestic violence,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 18th, 2022

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