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Thursday Jun 04 2020

Zakaria apprises UK shadow foreign secretary of 'grave human rights situation' in India-occupied Kashmir

Pakistan High Commissioner to UK Nafees Zakaria (left) and UK Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy MP. — AFP/Files

LONDON: Pakistan High Commissioner to UK Nafees Zakaria held a virtual meeting with British Labour Party politician and UK Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy MP on Wednesday during which the two discussed the "grave human rights situation in India-occupied Jammu & Kashmir".

According to a statement by the Pakistan High Commission (PHC), both sides agreed that the issue of Jammu & Kashmir "is an internationally recognised dispute, which must be resolved in accordance with UNSC Resolutions and aspirations of the Kashmiri people".

During the exchange, Zakaria expressed his concerns over the ongoing humanitarian crisis following India's illegal actions of August 5, 2019.

"He highlighted the sufferings of Kashmiris in [India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir], who remain under Indian siege for over 300 days, with complete communication blockade and denial of access to media and human rights defenders," read the statement.

The high commissioner drew special attention to the "documented accounts of India’s human rights violations" such as the report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); a report by Amnesty International on mass blinding; the 1991 Kunan Poshpora mass rape incident; and the International People’s Tribunal on Kashmir (IPTK)’s account of unnamed, unmarked mass graves in 2009.

He discussed warnings given by Genocide Watch along with "various other harrowing accounts of repression, torture, night raids, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, as documented by international media and human rights organisations," said the statement.

According to the statement, Nandy expressed her resolve, and that of the Labour Party "in continuing to highlight human rights abuses in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir with all concerned stakeholders".

Both also exchanged ways to further strengthen bilateral relations between Pakistan and the UK in diverse fields.

It was decided on "strengthening linkages between the two countries through active participation of Pakistani diaspora in the UK and exploring new avenues of trade and investment".