Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday announced that he was going to hold a “big jalsa” (rally) in Muzaffarabad on September 13 (Friday).
In a post shared on Twitter, the premier said that the jalsa was in order to “send a message to the world about the continuing siege of [Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir] IOJK by Indian Occupation forces; [and] to show the Kashmiris that Pakistan stands resolutely with them”.
Since India unilaterally decided to annex occupied Kashmir on August 5 and enforce a lockdown, Prime Minister Imran has repeatedly raised concern about the situation in the disputed region.
Earlier, he had also announced that an event would be held every week to show solidarity with the Kashmiri people, starting from August 30, when Pakistanis came out in droves to observe ‘Kashmir Hour’ from 12pm to 12:30pm to express solidarity with Kashmiris in occupied Kashmir.
Joint statement at the UN Human Rights Council
The premier’s announcement of the Muzaffarabad jalsa today comes a day after Pakistan delivered a joint statement on behalf of over 50 countries at the United Nations Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in occupied Kashmir.
Addressing the president of the council, the statement said that the worsening human rights and humanitarian situation in occupied Kashmir, particularly after India’s action on August 5, required the “urgent attention of the Human Rights Council and human rights mechanisms”.
“We share the concern expressed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms Michelle Bachelet regarding the impact of recent actions on the human rights of Kashmiris.”
As per the statement, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the UN Special Procedures in their joint press release on August 22 and civil society organisations as well international media had “repeatedly expressed serious concerns about the unprecedented restrictions and on the continuous curfew imposed since August 5, curbing of fundamental freedoms, communications blackout and reports of widespread torture, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, molestation of women, and enforced disappearances”.
Additionally, it noted that in a statement on August 8, Guterres had said that the UN’s position on the region was governed by the Charter of the UN and the applicable Security Council resolutions. The joint statement added that this had been corroborated by the OHCHR’s Kashmir Reports.
According to the joint statement, the international community should ask for the following:
- Respect and protection of fundamental human rights of the people of occupied Kashmir, especially the right to life, liberty and security
- Immediate lifting of curfew, ending the communications shutdown and release of arbitrarily detained people
- Immediate halt to the excessive use of force, especially the use of pellet guns
- Access of human rights organisations and international media
- Implementation of the recommendations of OHCHR’s Kashmir Reports including the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate egregious human rights violation
- Regular reporting by the UN High Commissioner for human rights on occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
“We also support a peaceful resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute through the implementation of the UNSC resolutions,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, in a press release issued by the Foreign Office spokesperson, Pakistan expressed gratitude towards countries that were part of the joint statement.
The same day Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi addressing the 42nd session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva during which he that the international community “must not remain indifferent to the tragedy that is unfolding before our eyes” in occupied Kashmir.