No comparison between J&K and PoK, India tells UN rights chief

After Pakistan’s approach to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Kashmir issue, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Vikas Swarup on Tuesday said that there was no comparison between the situation in Jammu and Kashmir to the one in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
He was responding to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein’s appeal to both India and Pakistan to grant his team access to Jammu and Kashmir as well as PoK.
“As regards the suggestion for a visit of a mission to both sides of the Line of Control, we would underline that there is no comparison between the situation in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir”, a statement on the MEA website said.
“The former has a democratically elected Government, while the latter has seen a Pakistani diplomat arbitrarily appointed as its head. The Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is part of a pluralistic and secular democracy, where freedoms are guaranteed by an independent judiciary, an active media and a vibrant civil society. “In contrast, Pakistan-occupied Kashmiris administered by a ‘deep state’ and has become a hub for the global export of terror,” a statement on the MEA website said. Calling terrorism the ‘grossest violation of human rights’, Swarup said, “It would be recalled that the present situation arose from the death of a self-acknowledged commander of the terrorist organization, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, who was wanted for several terrorist acts. It was further aggravated by sustained cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan”.
Swarup added that the high number of casualties suffered by the Indian army showed the ‘tremendous restraint’ they had exercised at the border.
The statement said that the issue of allowing an external mission access to Kashmir was considered by the All-Party Conference in August, and was rejected. “It was unanimously felt that Indian democracy has all that is required to address legitimate grievances,” the MEA statement said.
The statement concluded that India hopes that the connection between terrorism and violation of human rights would be recognised and deliberated upon by the UN.
Pakistan for its part had said it would ‘welcome’ a UN rights team visit to Jammu and Kashmir.

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