UN report on Kashmir opportunity to alleviate people’s sufferings: Farhatullah Babar


ISLAMABAD: Former senator Farhatullah Babar on Sunday said that the report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights presented last month offered an opportunity to alleviate the sufferings of people of Indian Kashmir and also offered some corrective measures in Pakistan.

He said this while addressing a seminar on the second death anniversary of Burhan Wani. The seminar was organised by Peace and Culture Organisation headed by Mishal Malik, wife of Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik, at the National Press Club in Islamabad.

Farhatullah Babar said that Wani’s martyrdom galvanized the people of Kashmir as never before, adding that for the first time educated middle-class youth have risen against the occupation. The coalition government has been disbanded and governor rule imposed, with an increase in repression along with resistance, he added.

For the first time, the UN has reported on the grim situation in Indian Kashmir and called for an inquiry into human rights violations. The UN has also talked of enforced disappearances, curbs on expression, reprisals against human rights defenders and journalists, use of pellet guns and torture in Kashmir for the first time, he said.

“For the first time UN has lamented total impunity for enforced disappearances,” Farhatullah Babar added.

He went on to say that Pakistan should support the proposed commission of inquiry and also offer to allow its visit to Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

“Simultaneously, we should also improve our own human rights record and end enforced disappearances and internment centres. We must bring torture legislation and stop gerrymandering before and after polls to be credible,” he said.

The former senator also called for bringing charges under Geneva conventions against individuals responsible for grave rights violations in Kashmir, as well as proposing UN convention against pellet shotguns.

He said that the Kashmiris’ cause was so strong that it did not need external non-state actors, which undermined the cause of self-determination after the Kargil debacle.

Former senator Syed Zafar Ali Shah, Maria Sultan and Peace and Culture Organisation Chairperson Mishal Malik also addressed the seminar.