Muzaffarabad/New York, September 15 (NIA): Pakistan and India are using the UN General Assembly session to highlight their respective cases on the Kashmir and Balochistan issues.
While Pakistan is accusing India of unleashing terror in that part of Kashmir held by it, India-inspired Balochistan groups are highlighting the alleged human rights violations of the Pakistan government in their land ,the Balochistan province.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will take Kashmiri separatist leaders from the Hurriyat Conference (Azad Kashmir chapter) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) leaders to New York to listen to him speak on Kashmir in the United Nations General Assembly on September 21.
“Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will visit Muzaffarabad on Friday before leaving for New York. He will consult the Kashmiri leadership regarding his speech at the UN session,” AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider told Dawn News.
Welcoming the decision, AJK PM Raja Farooq Haider said the gesture would send a positive message across the Line of Control (LoC) to people in India-held Kashmir.
At least 90 Kashmiri civilians have been killed and thousands injured in clashes with the Indian security forces after the killing of a prominent separatist leader Burhan Wani, in a military operation on July 8.
Wani, a 22-year-old commander of Kashmir’s largest pro-independence militant group Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), was killed along with two other separatists during a gun battle with Indian government forces.
On Wednesday, the UN human rights chief Zeid Raad al-Hussein had said the deteriorating situation in India held Kashmir has made it crucial to establish an independent, impartial and international mission to assess the situation.
UN Rights Chief’s Speech Gives Fillip to Pakistan’s Case
Talking to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, Hussein said he received a letter from the Government of Pakistan on Sept 9 formally inviting a team from his office to visit AJK but only in tandem with a mission to the Indian side. But India has said it will not give access to a UN or any foreign team.
Kashmir has been divided between rivals India and Pakistan since 1947, but both claim the territory in its entirety. Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have died in the fighting since 1989.
Balochi Protest in New York
On Tuesday, a group of Balochi activists held a protest demonstration against Pakistan outside the UN headquarters in New York demanding freedom and highlighting Pakistan’s “crimes against humanity” in Balochistan.
The protest was organized by the Free Balochistan Movement (FBM) on Tuesday across the street from the world body’s headquarters, around the time the 71st session of the General Assembly opened in the UN.
Waving the US and Baloch flags, the small group of protesters held banners of ‘Stop Human Rights violation in Baluchistan’, ‘Stop Bombing Balochistan’ and ‘Balochistan is not Pakistan’ and stood around five dolls, smeared in red color to portray blood and placed on the ground on a white banner that read ‘Save Baloch Children’.
Some wore white T-shirts with the slogan ‘Dire Human Rights Violations in Balochistan’ written in black.
The men and women protesting shouted slogans of ‘India help Balochistan’, ‘Freedom for Balochistan’, ‘Stop Genocide of Baloch People’, ‘UN UN Where are you’, ‘Stop funding Pakistan’, ‘Balochistan is another Bangladesh’ and ‘Stop breaking Balochistan’.
The protestors accused the Pakistani security forces of killing around 5,000 over the past few years and causing nearly 20000 forced disappearances in Balochistan.
FBM said in a statement handed out at the protest that the demonstration aimed to highlight the “illegal occupation and Pakistani state’s crimes against humanity in Balochistan, and to give awareness about Baloch national struggle for freedom.”
“It is the responsibility of the United Nations to take notice of the violations of its charter and state brutalities by Pakistan in Balochistan,” FBM said.