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Pakistan urges UN chief to play role in resolving Kashmir dispute

NEW YORK: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has urged UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to play his role in resolving the long-standing Kashmir dispute in line with the aspirations of Kashmiris and the UN resolutions.

The foreign minister met the world body chief on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

He expressed grave concern over the sufferings of the Kashmiri people at the hands of Indian forces in held Kashmir.

Qureshi discussed with the UN Secretary General the first-ever report on Kashmir by the UN High Commission for Human Rights and called for an international probe into the violations of human rights in the held territory.

He reaffirmed Pakistan’s desire to hold meaningful dialogue with India for lasting peace in the region.

The foreign minister said Pakistan also wants peaceful resolution of Afghan conflict.

Antonio Guterres, calling Pakistan a privileged partner of the United Nations, appreciated its lead role as top troop contributor in peacekeeping missions across the world.

While addressing the OIC Contact Group on Jammu and Kashmir earlier, the foreign minister had said Indian forces are violating human rights in the held territory and have killed civilians with impunity.

Citing a United Nations Human Rights Commission report on Kashmir, he said that Indian forces are not only killing innocent Kashmiris but their actions go unchecked as they enjoy “criminal level of impunity” with India’s draconian laws.

He maintained that Pakistan not only condemns Indian government’s moves to suppress freedom movement of Kashmiris but extends moral and diplomatic support to the people of the occupied valley.

Concluding his speech, the foreign minister called for setting up a commission of inquiry as recommended in the UN report to investigate human rights violations in held Kashmir.

The UN Kashmir Report

It is pertinent to note here that earlier in June this year, a United Nations Human Rights Commission report said that Indian security forces used excessive force that led to unlawful killings and a very high number of injuries in Kashmir.

Citing civil society estimates, the report said that up to 145 civilians were killed by the security forces between mid-July 2016 and the end of March 2018.

One of the most dangerous weapons used against protesters in 2016 – and which is still being employed by India security forces – was the pellet-firing shotgun.

According to official figures, 17 people were killed by shotgun pellets between July 2016 and August 2017, and 6,221 people were injured by the metal pellets between 2016 and March 2017. Civil society organizations believe that many of them have been partially or completely blinded.

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