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India denounces Pakistan for intimidating journalists and human rights defenders

While exercising India’s Right to Reply, India’s First secretary at the permanent mission in Geneva, S. Senthil Kumar denounced Pakistan for trying to divert the attention of the Council with its “imposturous political propaganda full of disinformation and gratuitous references about India’s internal matters”. “It will be better for Pakistan to set its own house in order before it speaks about others,” he said 

Highlighting the atrocities committed by state actors in Pakistan Occupied parts of Indian Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Laddakh, Indian statement said that 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. “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,” said Kumar

Highlighting OHCHR’s recent press briefing where it has expressed serious concern about the numerous instances of incitement to violence against journalists and human rights defenders in Pakistan, in particular against women and minorities, India said that especially worrying is accusations of blasphemy – which can put accused individuals at imminent risk of violence.

A Special Procedures of the HRC had recently 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.  

Exposing the fallacy of Pakistan’s so-called military-run ‘democratic’ system India’s statement said that Human Rights Defenders in Pakistan are being silenced everyday 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,” said the India first secretary in his statement.

Flagging the case of Pakistan’s women journalist and human rights defender Marvi Sirmed, receiving highly derogatory and violent messages on social media the Indian representative  also highlighted how 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. 

While mentioning the recurring abductions under-aged Hindu and Christian girls India pointed how enforcement agencies, in Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh law, have been given a free hand and are authorized to arbitrarily detain any person, including those below the age of 18 years. 

“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,” said India.

Indian representative urged the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to take note of these and other similar cases as well.

By: Abhiskek Jha

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