- Sartaj Aziz says request will be made to the UN Human Rights Council on behalf of Pakistan as well as OIC’s Contact Group on Kashmir to send fact-finding mission to Occupied Valley
- Says Quadrilateral Coordination Group will take up Afghan peace process again after the fighting season ends
Advisor to Prime Minister Sartaj Aziz said on Thursday the government will approach the Human Rights Council of the United Nations for sending a fact-finding mission to Indian Occupied Kashmir to investigate the slaughter of innocent civilians and to impose a ban on the use of pellet guns for dispersing people exercising their right to protest.
The PM’s advisor told journalists during the weekly briefing that a call was being made to the UN Human Rights Council on behalf of Pakistan and on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC)’s Contact Group on Kashmir.
“The OIC resolution was a lot stronger which shows that the OIC recognises the gravity of situation in Occupied Kashmir. At the OIC moot, representatives of 56 Muslim nations denounced Indian state terrorism in their speeches,” he said.
He said it was heartening to note the mediation offer made by the secretary general of the UN to help resolve the Kashmir issue.
“The UN secretary general has taken note of the situation and regretted the loss of dozens of lives and injuries to many others. The secretary general has also offered his good office if both parties agree to mediation. We have welcomed the secretary general’s offer,” he said.
Aziz added that the OIC secretary general and the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission have strongly condemned the Indian brutalities in the Indian-held Kashmir.
“The US State Department has also expressed concern over the violence. China has expressed concern about the casualties in Occupied Kashmir. The Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also issued statements on the grave human rights violations taking place in the valley. Even within India, there are strong voices criticising the brutal use of force by the Indian security forces and the uprising has been referred to as indigenous,” he maintained.
Responding to a question, Sartaj said that firing on peaceful protesters is unacceptable in any circumstance. He said that due to the diplomatic offensive launched by Pakistan, the international community was responding.
“This is a very serious development happening on the ground in Kashmir and the massive participation of youth in protests shows the level of state oppression against innocent civilians,” he said.
He said Indian propaganda about Pakistan’s involvement in Occupied Kashmir has fallen flat and now the Indian media itself is reporting that unrest in Kashmir is indigenous.
“This is an indigenous and spontaneous movement erupting because of extrajudicial killing of Burhan Wani and the Indian media is also saying as much. Even former Indian minister Chadam Baram has said that the situation in Kashmir was mishandled and force was misused in tackling the situation,” he added.
He said that the federal cabinet has also decided to convene a joint session of the parliament and so the Senate and the National Assembly will come up with their vision of how to further bring attention to the issue. Political consensus is there and the entire nation is united to help the Kashmiri cause, he added.
When he was asked that, keeping in view his personal chemistry with Indian Prime Minister Modi, why Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was not making a phone call to his Indian counterpart to urge him to avoid use of force against unarmed civilians in Occupied Kashmir, Sartaj Aziz said obviously messages can be communicated through various channels and the PM can also call Modi.
“Personal chemistry between leaders can help resolve problems. The relationship between PM Nawaz Sharif and PM Modi is not personal and rather a part of the state to state relations. Personal chemistry helps resolve bottlenecks during dialogue. We will have to see if this relationship can help resolve the deadlock and if the dialogue can be resumed,” he maintained.
Sartaj Aziz said the media gag-order in Kashmir is condemnable and the government has highlighted the matter at the international level. He said that since Pakistan is going to host the crucial SAARC summit, it will provide an opportunity to raise the Kashmir issue on the sidelines of the summit.
Responding to the question of why Pakistan is not calling back its high commissioner and disconnecting diplomatic ties with India, Aziz said that if Pakistan terminates diplomatic ties, it would lose channels to convey to India its concerns and call for a solution of the Kashmir issue.
He said Pakistan wants to hold a dialogue with India on the Kashmir issue but India is avoiding the comprehensive dialogue on the pretext of terrorism just to keep the Kashmir issue on the backburner. The international pressure is mounting on the Indian government, he added.
About a case registered in India against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Aziz said it is not to be taken seriously as it is merely an attempt at point-scoring by India.
Asked about the four-point formula raised by Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani, Aziz said Geelani’s formula is good and the Pakistani government supports the four-point formula for resolution of the Kashmir issue.
The advisor said the Kashmir Committee was activating gradually and more initiatives will be taken in light of proposals from the parliament.
“The government of Pakistan has provided and will continue to provide diplomatic, political and moral support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir for the realisation of their fundamental right to self determination in accordance with the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions.”
The advisor said that the government will also like to seek guidance from the opposition and the joint parliamentary session will provide a platform to the opposition to make useful suggestions to the government to further highlight the plight and sufferings of the Kashmiri people.
AFGHAN BORDR ISSUES:
Responding to a question about the border management issues with Afghanistan, Sartaj Aziz said that the director generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) of the two countries are set to meet in Kabul next week to help evolve a border management mechanism.
About the Afghan peace process, Aziz said Pakistan expects fighting in Afghanistan to culminate by the end of the summer season. “The Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) members, Pakistan, China, US and Afghanistan can engage for revival of peace process once the fighting season ends,” he added.
He said the peace process had been derailed twice by the enemies of peace.
“After a successful meeting in Murree, first news of Mullah Omar’s death was leaked to media to thwart the peace process and later, Mullah Mansour was targeted in the drone strike. This led to end of talks,” he added.
Asked about the inclusion of regional players like India and Iran in the Afghan peace process, Aziz said there were many layers to the process.
“The Shanghai process is there where India and Iran are also partners. But the QCG is the platform which involves four players to help bring peace in Afghanistan,” he said.