- First ever report on the horror by UNHCHR
The Indian atrocities committed in the wake of Burhan Wani’s killing were widely reported in international media. It is however for the first time that an important UN official has taken notice of these. A report prepared by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, focuses mainly on unprecedented protests in the Indian controlled valley and accuses Indian troops of resorting to disproportionate force including use of pellet guns to put down the protests. Hussein’s report calls for immediate and effective steps by the Indian authorities to discourage the use of force with abandon. Hussein has promised to urge the Human Rights Council to consider establishing a Commission of Inquiry (COI) to conduct a comprehensive independent international investigation into human rights violations in Kashmir.
While Pakistan has welcomed the proposal, Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has rejected Hussein’s report calling it overly prejudiced and building a false narrative. The MEA claims that the report violates India’s sovereignty. It accuses the authors of the report of ignoring cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan and territories under its control. The Indian claim is belied by what Indian army chief Gen Bipen Rawat told the Economic Times early this week. Maintaining that “infiltration can be controlled” he said the “issue is that a lot of locals are joining militancy. We kill them and more would join.” Gen Rawat therefore has called for talks as the solution. Senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari, a prominent proponent of talks was shot dead on Thursday in IHK along with two security guards. Bukhari’s death marks the killing of a third journalist at the Press Enclave area in Srinagar. It was a rare occasion when Kashmiri politicians across the political divide in IHK condemned the killing with one voice indicating that something needs to be done to bring peace to the valley.
While condemning Indian atrocities, Pakistan needs to pay heed to remarks in Hussein’s reports about human rights abuses and curbs on freedom of expression and assembly in AJK. The AJK would be more attractive to the Kashmiris on the other side of the LoC if these blemishes were done away with.