Thu, 22 Oct 2020

Geneva [Switzerland], September 21 (ANI): India at the United Nations during the 45th Session of the Human Rights Council on Monday accused Pakistan of spreading imposturous political propaganda which is full of disinformation and gratuitous references about India's internal matters.

"Yet again, though we are not surprised, Pakistan has twice chosen to divert the attention of the Council with its imposturous political propaganda full of disinformation and gratuitous references about India's internal matters today, said the First Secretary, Permanent Mission of India, Geneva Senthil Kumar at the 45th Session of the Human Rights Council.

"It will be better for Pakistan to set its own house in order before it speaks about others," he added.

Kumar further informed the assembly about the numerous instances of incitement to violence against journalists and human rights defenders in the country adding that it is especially worrying that the accusations of blasphemy which could put individuals at risk for violence.

"Just twelve days ago the OHCHR in its press briefing expressed serious concern about the numerous instances of incitement to violence - online and offline - against journalists and human rights defenders in Pakistan, in particular against women and minorities. Especially worrying are accusations of blasphemy - which can put accused individuals at imminent risk of violence," he added.

The first secretary further pointed out that the HRC had called on the Pakistani authorities to end the secret detention of human rights defender Idris Khattak, "whose whereabouts are not known for more than nine months".

"Talia, the 20-year-old daughter of Idris Khattak, is still waiting for a fair trial for her father. Last week we saw serious concerns being expressed in this room at a large number of enforced disappearances in Pakistan," he said further.

He further pointed out that human rights defenders in Pakistan are "being silenced every day" through intimidation, secret detention, torture, and enforced disappearances with the direct involvement of the Pakistani Government. "Targeting of journalists through threats, assaults, arrests instilling extreme fear and self-censorship exposes the fallacy of Pakistan's so-called military-run 'democratic' system," the first secretary said.

Speaking about the human rights defender Marvi Sirmed who received highly derogatory and violent messages on social media, he added that journalists Ahmed Noorani and Gul Bhukari and their families have been receiving death threats daily and live in an atmosphere of constant fear and terror.

"Abductions continue often of not only journalists and human rights defenders, but also of under-aged Hindu and Christian girls," Kumar added.

Kumar said that law enforcement agencies, in Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh, have been given a free hand and are authorized to arbitrarily detain any person, including those below the age of 18 years.

"Cries of Baloch sister Haseeba Qambrani for her brothers Hasaan and Hizbullah Qambrani, who have been forcibly taken away by the Pakistan military go unheard. Security forces in Pakistan have gained proficiency in unlawful killings and kidnapping of people in so-called counter-terrorism operations. This has been compounded by a weak judiciary in Pakistan which has consistently failed to protect even the basic human rights of the people in Pakistan," Kumar said further.

"This, Mr. Vice-President, is the plight of daughters, sisters, and mothers in Pakistan. They say in Imran Khan's Naya Pakistan (new Pakistan) - you may not return home," he added.

With regard to the cases of enforced disappearances in Pakistan occupied parts of Kashmir, he said that it has become "a common standard of practice" adopted to silence anti-government voices.

"Let me turn to Pakistan Occupied parts of Indian Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Laddakh. Cases of enforced disappearances, murders, detentions, custodial deaths and torture of civil rights activists, representatives of local political parties and journalists are common and a standard practice adopted to silence voices against the Government and deep state in Gilgit-Baltistan," he said.

"It's well documented that a large number of Kashmiri detainees are in secret detention facilities in Pakistan and Pakistan Occupied Territories now for several years and they have been severely tortured by the security forces... India strongly urges the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to take note of these and other similar cases," he added. (ANI)

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