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Wednesday Sep 11 2019
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FM Qureshi says global perception of Kashmir changing as truths presented in UNHRC

GENEVA: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Tuesday the global perception of Indian-occupied Kashmir was changing as he presented the truths behind the New Delhi-sanctioned atrocities in the valley in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Speaking to Geo News, FM Qureshi said Pakistan's biggest success at the UNHRC today was that 58 countries supported and guaranteed their help in the Kashmir policy. He said, "Many people do not know the truth. Every time, truths are presented to [the world], the perception starts to change.

"Today, we put forth some facts and we hope that conscientious people would raise their voices," he added, mentioning his hope that more condemnation would soon come from the United Nations (UN), global platform, world's parliament, and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

With regard to the ceasefire violations by India across the Line of Control, the minister said Pakistan has to remain careful because it does not wish to "impact the Kashmiris as they are our arm, our allies, our voice" and, therefore, all angles needed to be considered.

Referring to the Indian forces' aggression and violence, he said: "They are monsters … they don't feel pain when the blood of Muslim flows."

'World is not stupid'

Thanking major media outlets, such as The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The Independent, GuardianBritish Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Al-Jazeera, for highlighting the truth, he said it was important for the world to know what was happening in occupied Kashmir.

On US President Donald Trump's mediation offer, Qureshi reiterated that although Pakistan welcomed it, it was India that snubbed the proposal. "Trump needs to understand that India does not accept mediation nor does it want third-party facilitation and there were no chances of bilateral engagement" either.

However, he added that the American president should also understand that two nuclear states "are eyeball-to-eyeball, facing each other, and that poses a risk to the regional peace and security".

Trump, as well as the UN Security Council, has to play his role because they should prefer peace.

"We wish for peace, we are supporters of peace," the FM noted. "It's been 36 days so now what of their propaganda [of normalcy]. If that is so, [India] should show children studying in schools.

"Who are they fooling? The world is not stupid. The US has good relations with India and I think that the US should use that. We have wanted and still want peace on our eastern border," Qureshi added.

Meeting with WHO's Dr Ghebreyesus

Qureshi, who spent a busy day at the UN's government office in Geneva, met a number of world leaders, addressed multiple events, including the UNHRC's general assembly, and held talks with the World Health Organisation's (WHO) director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in the Swiss capital.

The FM called upon Dr Ghebreyesus to play his role in meeting basic medical needs of the eight million Kashmiris, who were stranded and locked in occupied Kashmir under a draconian curfew.

In his country statement at the 42nd session, Qureshi called upon the UNHRC to play its role in restoring normalcy in the Muslim-majority, Himalayan region to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe.

Also read: Trump thinks Pak-India tensions 'less heated' now

Separately, FM Qureshi attended an event — titled Kashmir Under Siege — organised by the International Human Rights Association of American Minorities on the sidelines of the UNHRC. He also attended a reception for the UNHRC's ambassadors and called them on to play their part in ending the bloodshed of innocent, unarmed, and oppressed Kashmiris.

Qureshi also met UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and thanked her for voicing alarm over the Kashmir situation. A day prior, Bachelet had "appealed particularly to India to ease the current lockdowns or curfews; to ensure people's access to basic services; and that all due process rights are respected for those who have been detained".

In her statement, she had noted: "It is important that the people of Kashmir are consulted and engaged in any decision-making processes that have an impact on their future."

'Largest prison on this planet'

Earlier today, FM Qureshi had addressed the 42nd session of the UNHRC and appealed to them to urge India to immediately lift the curfew and reverse the clampdown and communications blackout in occupied Kashmir.

He had said India should also be asked to stop the use of pellet guns, end the bloodshed, and restore fundamental freedoms and liberties. “India should release political prisoners, stop targeting human rights defenders and fulfil obligations under the UN Security Council resolutions and various human rights instruments,” he said.

“The human rights council should authorise the Office of the High Commissioner and the Human Rights Council's Special Procedures Mandate Holders, to monitor and report on India's human rights violations in IoK; and regularly update this Council,” Qureshi had added.

“India has transformed occupied Kashmir into the largest prison on this planet, with virtually no access to basic amenities and means of communication over the last six weeks.

“Many of [the prisoners] have been forcibly shipped to jails all over India, under draconian laws operative in the valley,” Qureshi said.

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