India denounces Pakistan's bid to raise Kashmir at UN

Arul Louis

United Nations, March 2 (IANS) India has rejected Pakistan's attempts to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, by denouncing Islamabad as the global "epicentre" of terrorism and accused it of trying to destabilise the state.

"Pakistan has created terrorist outfits against India. This monster is now devouring its own creator," Ajit Kumar, India's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, told the Council meeting in the Swiss city on Wednesday.

Earlier Pakistan's Law Minister Zahid Hamid had called for the Council's intervention in Kashmir, asserting that the "human rights and fundamental freedoms of innocent Kashmiris are being trampled upon."

Hamid denied that there was a terrorism problem in Kashmir and claimed that Islamabad's involvement was only in providing "political, moral and diplomatic support".

Rejecting these assertions, Kumar said: "The fundamental reason for disturbances in parts of Jammu and Kashmir is cross-border terrorism aided and abetted by Pakistan."

Pakistan has been carrying out "an intense campaign to destabilise" the state through "infiltration and cross-border terrorism, inciting, promoting and glorifying violence", he said.

Calling terrorism "the grossest violation of human rights", Kumar added that "Members will recognise the irony of a nation that has established a well-earned reputation of being a global epicentre of terrorism holding forth on human rights. For the last two decades, the most wanted terrorists of the world have found succour and sustenance in Pakistan."

Hamid made an appeal to Indians to be aware of the human rights situation in Kashmir.

"We call upon all the mechanism of the Council and the Indian community to remain seized of the grave and systematic violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir."

Reacting to Hamid's claims that Kashmir was an international issue under Security Council resolutions, Kumar said: "Pakistan's unwarranted references to UN Security Council resolutions are grossly misleading as Pakistan was required to vacate the parts of the State of Jammu and Kashmir under its illegal and forced occupation."

The Permanent Representative also played down the seriousness of the situation in the state and spoke of efforts to develop it and bring normalcy "in the wake of Pakistan-supported violent unrest."

"The robust and mature Indian democracy proved once again that it has sufficiently strong and adequate mechanisms to redress any internal difficulties even if they are incited from outside," he said.

That 99 per cent of the high school students in the state have written their exams was a sign of the return of normalcy, he said.

Kumar said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has fast-tracked a $12 billion development package for the state.

Hamid also brought up the request by Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to send a team to the state.

(Arul Louis can be reached at arul.l@ians.in)

--IANS

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