ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Wednesday told foreign envoys that India was hampering regional peace and prosperity by refusing to resolve the longstanding Kashmir issue.
Additional Secretary (UN and EC) Tasneem Aslam briefed ambassadors of foreign missions here on the “continuously aggravating human rights situation in held Kashmir” in the backdrop of Kashmir Solidarity Day, a foreign ministry statement said.
“India has deprived more than 1.5 billion people of this region, of peace and prosperity by refusing to resolve the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UN resolutions and its own promises,” Aslam said.
The additional secretary highlighted that Kashmir Solidarity Day was observed every year on February 5 to express Pakistan’s unwavering diplomatic, moral and political support to the oppressed people of held Kashmir in their legitimate struggle for the realisation of the right to self-determination in accordance with the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. She stressed that Kashmir dispute was one of the oldest items on the agenda of the UNSC.
“Indian brutalities in Kashmir have increased significantly after the extra-judicial killing of Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016. Gross violation of human rights of the people of Kashmir perpetrated by Indian forces had resulted in 150 civilian deaths and injuries to more than 20,000,” Aslam said.
She added: “The inhumane use of pellet guns has caused serious injuries to thousands of innocent people, including young girls and children, and blinded hundreds —- completely or partially.”
Aslam urged the international community to take up with India its “gross human rights violations perpetrated in held Kashmir” at all levels to ensure the “misery and suffering of the innocent people of occupied Kashmir is alleviated, and to play its role in the resolution of Kashmir dispute in line with the UNSC resolutions.”
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Pakistan summoned Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh to lodge protest against the firing across the Line of Control (LoC) that killed a civilian, a separate foreign ministry statement said.
Director-General (South Asia and the SAARC) Dr Mohammad Faisal summoned the Indian envoy “to condemn the unprovoked ceasefire violation committed by Indian forces on February 7, 2017 in Khui Ratta Sector, resulting in the death of a civilian, Ashfaq, 25, who was working as a labourer for the construction of a house.”
The director-general deplored the “deliberate targeting of civilians, which is a crime as well as violation of international human rights and humanitarian laws,” the statement adds.
He urged the Indian side to respect the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding; investigate this and other incidents of ceasefire violations; instruct the Indian forces to respect the ceasefire, in letter and spirit, stop targeting the villages and civilians and maintain peace on the LoC.
Tension between Pakistan and India reached dangerous levels last year after India blamed Pakistan for backing an attack on an Indian army base that killed 19 soldiers in Uri.
Pakistan denied the allegation.
India resorted to firing across the LoC and the Working Boundary (WB) after the attack.
On Tuesday, the federal cabinet meeting decided that 50 bunkers would be built along the WB with India, to provide refuge to villagers living in the area during incidents of cross-border firing.
The latest Pakistan-India tensions started in July, when Indian forces killed freedom fighter Burhan Wani leading to massive protests.
Indian forces killed scores of protesters to quell the agitation that followed.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Pakistan strongly condemned the suicide attack outside the Supreme Court of Afghanistan on February 7 that has led to loss of 20 lives and left more than 40 injured.
“The people and the government of Pakistan extend their heartfelt sympathies and deepest condolences to the government and people of Afghanistan and to the bereaved families. We pray for early recovery of the injured. We firmly stand with our Afghan brothers in this hour of grief and anguish,” said an official statement.
Meanwhile, Pakistan sent rice for drought victims in Sri Lanka on Wednesday. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had directed to provide all necessary assistance to the govt and the people of Sri Lanka.
“Consequently, an aircraft carrying 25 MT rice has left for Colombo. The government and the people of Pakistan stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the people of Sri Lanka in this hour of need and will continue to provide all possible support to them,” a statement issued by the foreign ministry said.