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Pakistan warns of ‘genocide’ in Kashmir, urges UN action

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi addresses the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, on September 10, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Pakistan has demanded that the United Nations (UN) launch a probe into the situation in Indian-administered Kashmir, claiming that “genocide” could be looming against the Muslim-majority region.

Addressing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that Kashmiri people were facing grave threats to their lives by Indian forces operating in the region.

“The people of Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir are apprehending the worst,” he said. “I shudder to mention the word genocide here, but I must.”

He said the threat was from “a murderous, misogynistic, and xenophobic regime.”

“The forlorn, traumatized towns, mountains, plains, and valleys of Indian-occupied Jammu & Kashmir reverberate today with the grim reminders of Rwanda, Srebrenica, the Rohingya, and the pogrom of Gujarat,” he added.

On August 5, India revoked the semi-autonomous status of Kashmir. It deployed troops to the region to stymie potential protests, imposed severe restrictions on movement, and cut all telephone and internet services.

The controversial move angered both Pakistan — which controls the other part of Kashmir — and the local population.

​Indian police detain an Indian Kashmiri during a strict curfew in the Lal Chowk area of Srinagar on the eighth day of Muharram, on September 8, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Elsewhere in his remarks, Qureshi urged UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council to help defuse the tensions across the region.

“Today, eight million people are in prison, deprived of every political and civil liberty. The world cannot remain silent and the world should not remain silent. And if they do, they will be part of this criminal negligence,” he said.

But speaking to reporters after the UN forum in Geneva, Qureshi said that he saw “no possibility of a bilateral engagement with India” and called for the UN Security Council to act.

Also on Monday, Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said, “I am deeply concerned about the impact of recent actions by the government of India on the human rights of Kashmiris.”

There was no immediate comment from India.

Kashmir has been split between India and Pakistan since their partition in 1947.

Indian activists denounce ban on Ashura rallies in Kashmir

Meanwhile, a large number of Indian students and activists staged a protest in New Delhi on Tuesday to denounce the restrictions on Shia Muslim ceremonies on the occasion of Ashura, which marks the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (PBUH), the third Shia Imam and the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

Indian authorities tightened the security lockdown in Kashmir on Sunday after breaking up religious processions by Shia Muslims.

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