The Foreign Office on Saturday said India should adhere to accepted human rights standards instead of “stereotypically” blaming Pakistan for the “widespread uprising of the Kashmiri people.” This statement came nearly 24 hours after India rejected Pakistan's “gratuitous statements” on Jammu and Kashmir.
To India's sharp reaction to Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi's call to exercise restraint in Kashmir, the Foreign Office said: “It is evidently self-serving and, to say the least, callous to be dismissive of the widespread uprising of the Kashmiri people, including youth and women, against Indian occupation.”
Pointing out that Kashmir was an international dispute and subject of several United Nations Security Council resolutions, the statement said India should “undertake serious introspection of its policies that are in sharp variance to its international commitments, including adherence to accepted human rights standards.”
That Pakistan chose to wait nearly a day to respond is seen as reluctance to exacerbate matters as the call for ‘Azadi' in the Valley has caused a degree of unease here. “It is worrisome that 67 per cent of people there want freedom from both India and Pakistan,” is a common refrain. Though Pakistan has always advocated Kashmiris' right to self-determination, the call for complete freedom from both countries is being watched with wariness for fear of repercussions in Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
According to Tanvir Ahmad Khan, chairman of the Foreign Office-backed think tank ‘The Institute of Strategic Studies': “It is obvious that the government tried to remain silent since June 11. It has been resisting a debate on the issue in Parliament and part of the pressure is borne by the Special Committee of the Parliament on Kashmir, which has issued six statements on the issue since what is increasingly being called the ‘second Intifada' in Kashmir began.”
At least two former Foreign Ministers, Khurshid Kasuri and Sartaj Aziz, have described the “stone-throwers' movement” as ‘Intifada' and both have expressed dismay at the scant attention being paid to it by the international community and Western media. Others feel this is inevitable, given India's growing standing in the world.
Now there is an expectation from Mr. Qureshi to raise the issue at the upcoming meeting of the U.N. General Assembly.