EU delegation acknowledges Pakistan’s progress in economic and political spheres
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Monday received a delegation of the European Parliament’s South Asia Delegation that expressed deep concerns over the grave human rights violations by Indian forces in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IoK).
Led by Jean Lambert, the delegation urged for world leaders to take action to alleviate the plight of Kashmiris.
The foreign minister highlighted a recent surge of violations in IoK and urged the EU Parliament to take a public position on UN Human Rights Commissioner’s report on Jammu and Kashmir.
He also expressed satisfaction at the positive growth in Pakistan-EU relations as well as an increase in parliamentary exchanges.
He called for the need to enhance trade and economic cooperation, to take full benefit of EU’s Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP) in particular and to build linkages through the cultural and educational exchange.
The foreign minister briefed members of European Parliament (MEPs) on Pakistan’s approach towards promoting regional peace and prosperity.
The two sides also discussed issues of global and regional mutual interest.
The EU delegation acknowledged the important progress made by Pakistan in political and economic spheres, especially in democracy, counterterrorism and human rights domains. It assured the government of continued cooperation.
Meanwhile, British MEP Julie Ward said human rights violations in IoK are a matter of great concern for the British people as well as the whole world.
Ward, who is currently in Strasbourg for the plenary session of the European Parliament, said the occupied valley is the most militarized area in the world where human rights violations by the occupying forces happen on a daily basis and have sadly become part of the local population’s day-to-day life.
She said Indian forces routinely use pellet guns, particularly against the young people, adding that these weapons are capable of inflicting serious injuries although they are classified as non-lethal.
“Pellet guns are used indiscriminately against protesters and bystanders during street demonstrations. The Indian army appears to be particularly targeting the eyes of the victims, which results in blindness in many cases,” she lamented.
Ward said she has raised the issue of human rights violations many a time during her mandate at the European Parliament.
“I have also spoken twice in the UN Human Rights Council on the issue of women victims of violence in Kashmir. The latest developments in the valley are of particular concern for those who are worried about women rights,” she said.
She offered her support to the families of innocent young men and women who were killed by Indian army inside their houses and during peaceful protests on the streets of the occupied valley.
“In wars, like the one in Kashmir, women suffer and children are victimized because they lose their bread earners. I recall that during my visit, I met with women who were humiliated and raped by soldiers of the Indian army inside their homes and in front of their male relatives,” she said.
“That’s why Kashmiris run away from their homeland and take refuge on the other side of the ceasefire line,” she added, referring to Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
“Politicians in Europe are joining the growing international chorus as pressure mounts on India for the actions committed by its security forces in the disputed region,” she concluded.