UNITED NATIONS: Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United

Nations, has recently briefed the President, UN Security Council; Ambassador Koro Bessho of Japan, and other top U.N. officials on the deteriorating situation in the Indian occupied Kashmir. She also called for an end to impunity and brutal repression of innocent civilians by occupation forces.

During her meetings with UN Secretary-General’s chief of Staff, Edmond Mulet and the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman and other key officials as well as in her address to the General Assembly, Ambassador Lodhi underlined the need to fulfil the right to self-determination to the people of Kashmir and establish justice for the victims of such heavy-handed Indian tactics, according to a press release of the Pakistan Mission to the UN.

Widespread protests had erupted in Indian occupied Kashmir in the wake of the killing by Indian troops of popular Kashmiri youth leader, Burhan Wani, 12 days ago. Resorting to brutal tactics, Indian security forces have killed more than 44 Kashmiri civilians, wounding another 1,500. Indefinite curfew has also been imposed while ‘shoot-at-sight’ orders are being given to the occupation forces to deal with violators.

During her meetings, Ambassador Lodhi also reminded the United Nations of its longstanding commitments to the people of Jammu and Kashmir under several UN Security Council resolutions. She also argued that the human rights situation in Jammu & Kashmir was worsening because of the non-implementation of UN Security Council resolutions, which called for a plebiscite and the exercise of the right of self-determination by the Kashmiri people. Ambassador Lodhi noted that the worsening situation in Jammu and Kashmir merited attention by the world body because it posed a grave threat to regional peace and security.

She informed her interlocutors that over 100 Kashmiri youth presently risked losing their vision because of the brutal use of airgun pellets by Indian forces. She called for an “independent and transparent” inquiry into the extra-judicial killings in Indian occupied Kashmir.

Dubbing the Kashmiris agitating for their right to self-determination as “terrorists” was a travesty of truth and was further inflaming passions, she argued.

The Pakistani envoy was also informed that the UN Secretary-General was concerned about the deteriorating situation in Indian-held Kashmir and that he was ready to mediate peace talks between India and Pakistan, provided the two neighbours accept his good offices. The Pakistani envoy called the use of excessive force against civilians exceedingly deplorable and condemnable.

She said that the leaders of the APHC ( All Parties Hurriyat Conference) have all been confined to house detention. The continued imposition of a curfew has brought life to a halt and is causing mounting hardship to the people. The crackdown on the media represented a vain effort by the Indian authorities to conceal the truth about what is happening from the world.

The international community must call on the Indian government to honour its human rights obligations and its commitments to peacefully resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions, she added. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s advisor on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, has also written a formal letter to comment on the grave Kashmir situation to Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and the President of the General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft. This letter was delivered to the president of UN Security Council by Ambassador Lodhi. On Pakistan’s request, the letter has been circulated to UN member states as an official document.

Daily Times