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Wrong to compare Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir: India's sharp response to UN human rights chief

Author: TNN 
Publication: The Times of India 
Date: September 13, 2016
URL:   http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-responds-sharply-to-OHCHR-call-for-access-to-Jammu-and-Kashmir-and-PoK/articleshow/54317065.cms

India on Tuesday shot down a request from the United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner for unconditional access to Kashmir. Its sharp rebuke came on the grounds that in seeking access to Jammu and Kashmir in tandem with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), he had sought to equate a democratically governed state with an undemocratically ruled borough that was a global terror hub.

The statement by UN Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein had come earlier in the day as part of a human rights update delivered to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

"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. The former has a democratically elected Government, while the latter has seen a Pakistani diplomat arbitrarily appointed as its head," read the response from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

"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 Kashmir is administered by a 'deep state' and has become a hub for the global export of terror," the MEA statement added.

"We hope that the connection between terrorism and violation of human rights would be recognized and deliberated upon in Geneva," it concluded. The statement also noted that an all-party delegation had deemed that there were enough democratic channels available to address grievances in Kashmir without resorting to terrorism and violence.

al-Hussein had expresses concern over the rising number of countries that are denying access to teams from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCRHR).

He said his office had requested the governments of both India and Pakistan for unconditional access to Jammu and Kashmir and PoK, and that he continues to receive reports of the use excessive force against civilians.
 
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