UN human rights chief's concern on Kashmir consistent with stance of world body: Pakistan
(Photo by FAROOQ NAEEM / AFP)

Islamabad: Pakistan on Monday said the UN human rights chief's concerns over the situation in Kashmir are consistent with the stance of the world body.

Foreign Office spokesman in a statement said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, made "important remarks about the deteriorating situation in Jammu and Kashmir" during the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. "The UN High Commissioner's concerns and calls are consistent with the position taken by the UN system vis-a-vis the human rights situation in Kashmir including the continuing restrictions and crackdown on fundamental rights and freedoms of the Kashmiri people," the Foreign Office said.

UN human rights chief Bachelet on Monday expressed "deep concern" over the impact of restrictions in Kashmir, and asked India to ease the current lockdowns to ensure people's access to basic services. Bachelet also asked Pakistan and India to ensure that the human rights of the Kashmiri people are respected and protected, amid tensions between the two neighbours after the abrogation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir by New Delhi.

She said her office continues to receive reports on the human rights situation on both sides of the Line of Control. Later, Prime Minister Imran Khan on twitter said he welcomes the "growing concern" and demands by the international community, global leaders, the UN Secretary General and the UN rights chief for India to lift its "siege" of Kashmir. Khan said that "time to act is now." He said the international community must not remain "indifferent" to "human rights abuses" by Indian forces.

Asserting that the abrogation of Article 370 of its Constitution to withdraw J&K's special status was its "internal matter", India has defended imposition of restrictions in the Kashmir Valley on the grounds that they were put to prevent Pakistan from creating more mischief through proxies and terrorists. On Saturday, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval said mobile phone and Internet services can easily be used by Pakistan and terrorists for subversive activities, but the denial of these services should not prevent people from going about their lives.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has left for Geneva to attend the meeting of the Human Rights Council. He is expected to highlight the situation in Kashmir during the session and in his meetings with different leaders.

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