Islamabad, September 21, 2020: In her message on International Peace Day, Parliamentary Leader of the PPP in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman said, “Draconian laws, and unlawful actions of the Indian government have made the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir valley one of blood and martyrs”.
Drawing attention to the rampant human rights violations in IIOJK, she said, “According to Human Rights Watch, Indian forces are “maiming, blinding, and killing people” in Kashmir as they continue to defy international norms by using pellet guns as a means of crowd control. Kashmiris are living in a constant state of fear and it is impacting public health, and causing trauma and stress. The rights of children to a trauma-free environment are also being arbitrarily ignored. Innocent civilians are being murdered in cold blood and their homes are being destroyed”.
“Under AFSPA, a counterterrorism law with sweeping provisions, security forces enjoy “widespread impunity”. It grants “powers” to members of the armed forces in “disturbed areas” like Kashmir to shoot-to-kill or arrest suspected people. Draconian laws like these need to be repealed on urgent basis and police and paramilitary personnel must be held accountable. A recent inquiry conducted by the Indian army has also brought out certain prima facie evidence which indicates that powers vested under the AFSPA 1990 were exceeded”, she added.
Emphasising on the need of Kashmiri participation in the peace process, she said, “Kashmir is one of the oldest disputes on the UN docket, and it is one of the most militarised regions of the world. It is also important to remember that the Kashmiri people are the principal stakeholders in the Kashmiri issue, a right also recognised by the UN”.
She said, “While Pakistan has regularly sought confidence building measures to improve the situation for the people of Kashmir, the Indian government continues to shun such overtures. It is imperative that we engage in timely discussion to highlight the abysmal on-ground situation in Kashmir as the future of Kashmir is a test for global multilateralism and regional peace”.
Parliamentary Leader of the PPP in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman concluded by saying, “On International Day of Peace, we must not forget the vulnerable Kashmiris, who are under a brutal military lockdown since Aug 05, 2019. They face state torture, brutality and mass violations of human rights. They are also under an inhumane military siege and their Muslim identities are being obliterated. We must use our voice to highlight these serious human rights violations”.