UN rights chief’s statement on IIOJK just tip of iceberg, AJK President


MUZAFFARABAD: The AJK President Sardar Masood Khan on Saturday welcomed the statement of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Michelle Bachelet in which she has expressed concern over the state-sponsored violence against civilians, including the use of pellet guns and changes in domicile rules in Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

Ms Michelle Bachelet, in her inaugural statement at the 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, had stated that military and police violence against civilians including use of pellet guns continues in the IIOJK. She maintained that the Indian Government’s August 5 moves followed by domicile laws were generating deep anxiety among the people across Jammu and Kashmir.

In a statement issued here, the AJK President said what the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has stated was the just tip of the iceberg. The real situation is even worse as the Indian occupation army is not only abusing the rights of Kashmiri people but it also is engaged in carrying out genocide, war crimes and the crimes against humanity.

He called upon the United Nations to intervene to stop the carnage, land grab and illicit transfer of Indian citizen to IIOJK to change the demographic structure of the region, and added that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Michelle Bachelet should demonstrate leadership by taking measures for establishing an International Commission of Inquiry recommended in the OHCHR’s 2018 Report to hold Indian occupation forces accountable for human rights violations and abuses.

 Rejecting unfounded equalization between Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Indian Occupied Kashmir, President Masood said there is an ocean of difference in the situations prevailing in both regions. People in Azad Kashmir enjoy fundamental rights and civil liberties, and neither there are military and paramilitary check posts in the cities and townships of the liberated state nor the civilian are stopped and frisked in the streets. There are no killings and torture while our doors are open to the world to verify our claims, he added.

On the contrary, the rights of people in the IIOJK are violated with impunity, and people are being killed, maimed and blinded. Women are dishonoured and rape of women is used as a weapon of war, he underlined.

Sardar Masood Khan said it is an erroneous impression that there is no 3-G, 4-G internet in Azad Kashmir. In fact, infrastructure has been laid to provide internet to the whole population of the liberated territory except for some locations close to Line of Control.  "The global community is aware of the Indian atrocities in IIOJK", he said adding that time will come when India would be held accountable for what it has been doing in the occupied territory since 1947.

Meanwhile, its reported that Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan has said Pakistan and AJK government’s coordinated and coherent efforts and timely decision-making strategy enormously help lower COVID-19 fatality and infection rate in the country.

“With the grace of Almighty Allah, we have achieved something which the best prepared developed countries had failed to attain to deal with the pandemic, he said while talking to a high-level National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) delegation.

Headed by Executive Director National Institute of Health (NIH) Major General Amer Ikram, the delegation is currently visiting AJK to assist in the testing ramp up and contact tracing for reopening of educational institutions.

The President said with the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) and National Institute of Health, the federal government, armed forces of Pakistan, all the four provincial governments and the Azad Kashmir government had taken preventive measures in time that have significantly contributed to flattening the pandemic curve.

The AJK President told the delegation that the timely measures adopted by the state government, efforts of the physicians and the paramedical staff at the risk of their own lives, cooperation from ulema and mushaikh, and above all the cooperation of the people with the government had gone a long way to cope with this test and the challenge.

“We are still constantly apprising the people that the danger is not yet over, and as such they must not abandon preventive measures,” Khan said

He added that on the one hand, the Azad Kashmir government had successfully controlled the pandemic through effective lockdown, while on the other the immediate support from the NCOC, NIH and other agencies also helped us to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

The president maintained that the federal government through Ehsas emergency cash program helped us tackle the major economic challenge in the wake of strict lockdown, and at the same time the state government through its own resources and with the cooperation of NGOs provided support to the people economically affected by the pandemic.

About the overall public health situation in Azad Kashmir, the state president said that change in the lifestyle of the people had alarmingly increased cardiac diseases, hypertension, and cancer etc, and we need cooperation and support from the federal government and the international health organizations to overcome these diseases.

He said we need telemedicine technology to provide health facilities to the people living in far-flung areas, and big hospitals of Punjab and other areas of Pakistan are ready for cooperation in this regard. Health infrastructure exists in Azad Kashmir, but we need modern diagnostic labs and health technology as well as trained staff.

On the occasion, the leader of NCOC delegation Maj. Gen. Amir Ikran said that the National Coordination Committee for Coronavirus has stepped up its efforts to provide Covid-19 vaccine to the Pakistani people. He added that clinical trials of the vaccine manufactured by China will start shortly.

He said that initially Covid-19 vaccine will be provided to about 20 million people in the country.

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