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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

International pressure over India increases: MEPs demand end to violence against Kashmiris

News Analysis |

In a major diplomatic breakthrough, the government of Pakistan was able to bring the matter of Kashmir and atrocities being committed by India into European Parliament on Wednesday. According to official sources, an overwhelming majority of members of the European Parliament (MEPs) attending a landmark event on the human rights situation in occupied Kashmir endorsed the recommendations of a United Nations report on the deteriorating state of human rights in the valley.

The members also urged India to immediately halt its atrocities in Kashmir and address the matter. It is a breakthrough for Pakistan since it is due to Pakistan’s diplomatic efforts in EU that the matter of Kashmir got attention and addressed by the MEPs. “Members of European Parliament called on India to immediately put a halt to its atrocities in Indian Occupied Kashmir and carry out investigations into the incidents of grave human rights violations.”

Azad Jammu and Kashmir Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Belgium, the European Union, and Luxembourg Naghmana Alamgir Hashmi, and a large number of MEPs, human rights representatives, and civil society organizations think tanks, diplomats from various countries and members of Kashmiri diaspora across Europe attended the event.

It is worth mentioning that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly said that Pakistan is ready to initiate dialogue with India but it must stop killing of innocent Kashmiris.

Pakistan’s Foreign Office also issued an official statement and appreciated the developed. The FO noted that it is the first time since 2007 that the issue of Kashmir has been discussed publicly at an official European Union (EU) forum.

The discussion focused on the June 2018 report of the United Nations’ Office of High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) on Kashmir. Christine Chung, one of the authors of the report was invited to the event by the sub-committee. It is worth noting here that the OHCHR issued its first-ever report on the situation in Kashmir June 14, 2018.

Read more: Kashmiri Muslims under attack as violence grips India

The report highlights the protests after the martyrdom of Burhan Wani in 2016 and the brutal use of pellet guns against protesters among the human rights violations in Indian-held Kashmir. The report noted that Indian armed forces not only use force indiscriminately but also rape and humiliate Kashmiri women. A member of the European Parliament also called on India “to end violence against women & children in IOK. Voices of Kashmiri women & children must be heard.”

Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shirin Mazari took to the Twitter and said “In 11 yrs first time EU Human Rights Committee officially held hearings on & took note of human rights abuses in IOK & called on India to end draconian laws in IOK & implement recommendations of the OHCHR report on Kashmir. This despite Indian propaganda against Pak on Pulwama.”

It is the major blow to Indian diplomacy as it has been publically saying that it will ensure international isolation of Pakistan but the matter becomes worse for India when a member of European Parliament said, “if India has nothing to hide, it should allow international inspection & investigation of Indian HR violations in Kashmir”.

Experts believe that such international pressure for the ruling party in India which has always focused on anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan rhetoric is alarming. After the Pulwama incident Indian government and media were at the same page to create an anti-Pakistan international opinion but not only Saudi Arabia declined to accept Indian version of events, the whole world has more focus on Pakistan’s narrative. It is worth mentioning that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly said that Pakistan is ready to initiate dialogue with India but it must stop killing of innocent Kashmiris.

Read more: Hindu extremism: Amnesty urges India to ensure Kashmiri’s safety

Now the statement of the European Parliament is one more message to Indian establishment that its narrative is no longer useful to betray the international community and it needs to change its policy towards Kashmir. The solution of Kashmir issues, as Pakistan has suggested, is a political dialogue since there is no military solution to counter a freedom movement.