Responding to media queries, the Spokesperson of the Foreign Office (FO) Mr Zahid Hafiz Chaudri stated that the FO has 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, according to a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Such guided tours are a smokescreen, aimed at diverting international attention from India’s egregious human rights violations in IIOJK, and creating a false impression of ‘normalcy,’” said the statement.

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

“The Indian notion of so-called normalcy in IIOJK has no feet to stand on,” the Spokesperson of the Foreign Office said. “The world can clearly see that the illegal and inhuman military siege continues for over 18 months now; extrajudicial 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 organizations are being harassed; and the Kashmiris’ fundamental rights, including the right to express themselves, continue to be denied.”

The Foreign Office stressed that 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 organizations; and international media to visit IIOJK and assess the situation on ground.

“The international community, including the world leaders, parliamentarians, international human rights organizations as well as the media, who have been unanimous in their condemnation of the ongoing atrocities in 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,” the statement concluded.


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