Pakistan suffers major setback at UNHRC

20th April 1997

PAKISTAN suffered a serious setback at the latest United Nations Human Rights commission (UNHRC) meet at Geneva, when it came under a scathing attack from several NGO's for aiding and abetting terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.

Addressing the UNHRC session in Geneva recently, Sybille Rupprecht of the International institute of Peace alleged that Pakistan was including in sustained campaign of violence in Kashmir by using mercenaries.

"Pakistan was doing all this in the name of so-called right of self determination," he added.

Despite Kashmiris wholehearted participation in the assembly elections in the last years, the militants abetted by Pakistan continued to target those elected and those who made this democratic exercise possible, "Rupprecht said.

He said the Kashmiris with the Indian region were never interested in right for self-determination, unlike those unfortunate "Kashmiris in the areas under Pakistan's control". The NGOs also urged the UNHRC to censure countries aiding terrorists.

Ashok Bhan, veteran lawyer from Jammu and Kashmir urged the commission to recommend to the Security Council and General Assembly to initiate action against such countries.

Drawing the attention of the commission towards the growing menace of hostage taking incidents, Bhan said steps should be taken to censure countries that endorse and encourage such moves.

This will enable innocent persons to live peacefully, who, otherwise are kidnapped by such terrorists and at times fall prey to their bullets." Bhan stated on behalf of the Himalayan Research and Cultural Foundation, a UN accredited NGO.

Bhan said hostage taking constituted a blatant violation of human rights and alleged that the captors of four Western hostages taken in Jammu and Kashmir were done by none other than Al-Faran.

"John Childs, an American, who managed to escape from the clutches of his kidnappers in Kashmir." Bhan stated "told the American media about the identities of the terrorists." His descriptions were similar to those made by a British national, Kim Housego, who was kidnapped in 1994 by the Harkat-ul-Ansar.

Ashok Bhan told the UNHRC that the base of operation of this group had been identified by the US Department of States in its reports "pattern of global terrorism". He said yet the international community had been able to do little to demand an explanation from the country (Pakistan), which allowed this terrorist group to flourish.

H.K.Singh who represented India at the UNHRC, regretted the statement of the secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), Azedine Laraki on Kashmir made in Islamabad recently.

"We had persuaded him not to make any comment on the internal affairs of India, and not to make judgements on a situation." Singh told the Commission, adding majority of the OIC states did not share the view of Laraki".

Singh said India was home to the second largest Muslim population in the world who were valued as equal participants in all respects of national life and thus enjoyed traditional ties of friendship with the OIC states.

He urged the Commission to lay emphasis on the fact that the integrity and sovereignty of India was not breached as otherwise building peace and good relations in south-east Asia was not possible.

Riyaz Punjabi while speaking on behalf of the Himalayan Research and Cultural Foundation, drew the attention of the Commission towards the sufferings of Christians in Pakistan.

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