India asks UNHRC to pay urgent attention to Pakistan's deplorable human rights records

·2-min read

Geneva, Mar 15 (PTI) India said on Monday that it is high-time that Pakistan, a 'failed state', is held accountable for its state-sponsored terrorism and urged the UN Human Rights Council to pay urgent attention to its deplorable human rights records and discriminatory treatment of its ethnic and religious minorities.

Using its Right of Reply under the Agenda Item 4 at the 46th Session of the Human Rights Council in response to a statement by Pakistan's representative, India also said that Pakistan must stop preaching and focus on its responsibility towards the millions suffering in the country.

'This Council must pay urgent attention to Pakistan's deplorable human rights records and discriminatory treatment of its ethnic and religious minorities,' said Pawankumar Badhe, First Secretary of India's Permanent Mission in Geneva.

'It is high-time that Pakistan, which continues to export terrorism, is held accountable for its state-sponsored and supported grave violation of human rights of its people. It is high time that the failed state of Pakistan stops preaching and focuses on its responsibility towards the millions suffering in Pakistan,” he said.

Citing victim groups, Badhe said tens of thousands of persons have disappeared from Balochistan since the year 2000 and their families continue to struggle for their voices to be heard.

'Balochistan has now come to be known as the ‘land of the disappeared’,' he said, adding that the risk of enforced disappearances has also heightened in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province after promulgation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Actions Ordinance, which gives security agencies vast abusive powers.

Noting that there has been an alarming increase in blasphemy accusations under Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws, Badhe said that around 200 such cases were reported last year.

Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws and their prescribed punishments are considered extremely severe. People accused of blasphemy are usually deprived of the right to a counsel of their choice as most lawyers refuse to take up such sensitive cases.

Highlighting the case of a 12-year-old girl who was abducted, chained in a cattle pen and forced to marry her abductor, Badhe said it was emblematic of the systematic discrimination and persecution faced by Christian, Hindus and other minorities in Pakistan.

In September 2020, over 30,000 people gathered in Karachi, demanding that Shia Muslims be declared heretics and ‘blasphemers’ and, calling for their beheading, he said and mentioned the killing of 11 coal miners of the Shia Hazara community in January in Pakistan.

He also said that a climate of fear continues to impede media coverage of abuses by both the Government and the militant groups. 'Pakistani journalists not only face threats but are often kidnapped and tortured for expressing views that differ from the Government’s narrative,' he said.

Badhe said that political and human rights activists continue to be targeted and charged under draconian laws in Pakistan, including under the anti-terrorism act. PTI ZH AKJ ZH ZH