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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday termed the planned "guided" tour of foreign diplomats by Indian government to the occupied Jammu and Kashmir as part of its efforts to mislead the world community, which is aimed at diverting international attention from egregious human rights violations and creating a false impression of "normalcy".

Responding to media queries, Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri stated: "We have seen reports regarding India planning another 'visit' to Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) for the diplomats based in New Delhi as part of its efforts to mislead the world community."

He said that such guided tours are a smokescreen, aimed at diverting international attention from India's egregious human rights violations in the IIOJK, and creating a false impression of "normalcy".

"The visit would mean nothing if there is no access to all the areas and possibility to freely interact with Kashmiri people and the civil society in an atmosphere free of intimidation. Equally, meeting the senior Hurriyat leadership including those incarcerated on trumped-up charges alone would enable an objective assessment of the ground realities," the spokesperson said.

He said that the Indian notion of so-called normalcy in the IIOJK has no feet to stand on.

The world can clearly see that the illegal and inhuman military siege continues for over 18 months now; extra-judicial killings of Kashmiris in fake "encounters", and staged "cordon-and-search" operations have become rampant; arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances and custodial torture have increased; Kashmiri leadership remain incarcerated; journalists, human rights activists and international human rights organisations are being harassed; and the Kashmiris' fundamental rights, including the right to express themselves continue to be denied, he added.

"India must also allow the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); the United Nations Observers; the OIC Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC); international human rights and civil society organisations; and international media to visit IIOJK and assess the situation on ground," he added.

He further stated that the international community, including the world leaders, parliamentarian, international human rights organisations as well as the media, who have been unanimous in their condemnation of the ongoing atrocities in the IIOJK, must urge India to take genuine steps to resolve the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in a peaceful manner in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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