A report was published in the Economic Times recently that the defence minister-level talks between India and France were held in New Delhi. India made certain allegations against Pakistan in a non-paper given to the French delegation. Some of the multiple assertions made against Pakistan are: Pakistan supports terrorism, especially in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan has a poor human rights record, and Pakistan might share sensitive technologies with China if the EU sells defense equipment to Pakistan.
These claims are completely unfounded and can be given no credence, as they are neither logical nor factual. As a matter of fact, considering India’s own human rights record in Jammu and Kashmir and its support for terrorism in Pakistan, its audacity to engage in such a debate would be laughable.
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Pakistan is not engaged in terrorist activities in IIOJ&K
In recent years, Pakistan has shifted its focus from geopolitics to geoeconomics; a policy that was reaffirmed by Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, while giving a talk at the Margalla Dialogue Forum 2021. If anything, Pakistan has been a victim of terrorism sponsored by India. There is sufficient evidence available now that separatists, particularly Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), in their subversive activities against the state of Pakistan, have Indian backing.
Indian Newspapers have published reports about Indian Intelligence support for Balochi sub-nationalists. ‘The Hindu’, in several issues, has reported Balochmilitants seeking and being provided medical assistance in India. In fact, a former Indian Navy officer, Kulbhushan Jadhav, now in Pakistani custody for his spying activities, admitted that he was working for an Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and that the organization was working with Baloch militants. The Indian support of terrorism in Balochistan, was on most occasions, facilitated through the then Indian consulates in Afghanistan.
Indian terrorist activities are not limited to Pakistan; its human rights record in the region of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K) is egregious. Indiscriminate rape, torture, assault on healthcare workers and extrajudicial killings are commonplace in the Indian scheme of crushing the Kashmiris who are protesting against Indian atrocities and demanding that the status of IIOJ&K be restored as per Article 370 and Article 35 of the Indian constitution before they were scrapped.
The memory of 1989, when India engaged in a savage assault against the uprising, resulting in wide-scale human rights abuses and killing of unarmed civilians, is still not forgotten by the Kashmiris. In 2019, Kashmir’s special constitutional status was arbitrarily abrogated, Kashmiri political leaders and a large number of civilians were incarcerated, and the innocent and helpless citizens were kept under an indefinite lockdown lasting two years.
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During the same period, close to a hundred-thousand additional military personnel were stationed in the region, while between six to seven hundred thousand were already deployed there. Thus, Kashmir was turned into the world’s most militarized zone. In the prolonged curfew, the weaker segments of society, the women, elderly and children were denied medical assistance.
Kashmir is at the brink of violence: once again!
It is not out of the ordinary for security forces in Kashmir to use guns to control protestors. Gunshot wounds can cause disability, paralysis, psychological trauma, and even death. A survey conducted by ‘Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders revealed that approximately one-fifth of the Kashmiris suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
India has, since 1947, introduced a unique set of draconian laws, effective only in Kashmir. For instance, Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978, enables the security forces to detain anyone for two years without trial, ostensibly to preserve public order. Jammu & Kashmir, Disturbed Areas Act, 1990, allows the government to declare parts or whole of the region as a ‘disturbed area’, empowering security forces to use excessive force or arbitrary firing against the Kashmiris. Due to such draconian laws and their excessively atrocious implementation, Kashmiris live in constant fear of dispossession, assault and abuse, affecting their physical and mental health.
In July 2019, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a 43-page report addressing the abuse of human rights at the hands of the Indian authorities in Kashmir. Pakistan found the dreadful state of Kashmir intolerable. In November 2020, it handed over a dossier on India’s terror campaign to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, urging him to exercise influence on India to stop the hostilities in Kashmir.
A report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)shows that India is the largest beneficiary of France’s defense exports. India is leveraging defense procurement deals to influence French opinion on Pakistan. French Defence Minister, Gerard Longuet, while talking to newsmen, said that France was not selling sophisticated military equipment to Pakistan. Pakistan has only bought equipment that is used for intercepting terrorist communications, implying that Indian insinuations were baseless. Longuet also added that Pakistan should be given an opportunity to make its position clear on terrorism after the death of Osama bin Laden.
The Indian suggestion that Pakistan might transfer sensitive technologies to China is again baseless. In the first place, Pakistan does not buy much defence equipment from France or other European countries. Moreover, Pakistan is a responsible state, and so is China. There is no such precedent in the history of the arms trade between the two, that could justify the assertion that Pakistan might make the transfer of sensitive technologies to its neighbor
The non-paper is one of the many initiatives, India has resorted to in order to defame Pakistan internationally. In 2019, the EU Disinfo Lab exposed a massive online and offline 15-year ongoing influence operation and an extensive network of 265 uncoordinated fake local media outlets in 65 countries, as well as multiple dubious think-tanks and NGOs. Almost all of them were engaged in unscrupulous activities to serve India’s interests and tarnish Pakistan’s reputation and international credibility. The discovery of the network demonstrated that India is almost relentless in its designs to damage Pakistan’s reputation and international standing.
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Pakistan has proven time and again to be a responsible state. It is incumbent upon Pakistan to maintain its military strength and reaffirm its right to self-defense. Also, Pakistan’s human rights record is as good as any other country. India cannot harm Pakistan’s international standing by baseless allegations and false assertions.
The writer is a Research Assistant in the Center for International Strategic Studies. She can be reached at email@example.com. The views expressed by the writers do not necessarily represent Global Village Space’s editorial policy