India today presented a blistering defence of its move to scrap special status of Jammu and Kashmir and rejected Pakistan’s right to speak on alleged “atrocities”, saying Islamabad was misusing international platforms to advance its own “malicious political agendas under the garb of human rights”.
Outside the entrance to the UN building in Geneva, there was also a quiet protest with posters and banners highlighting the human rights transgressions in Pakistan’s Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
In his statement a few hours earlier, Shah Mahmood Qureshi had focused entirely on Pakistan’s version of the events in Kashmir. Qureshi had accused India of turning Kashmir into the planet’s largest prison and sought an international investigation by the UNHRC into the situation in Kashmir.
Here are the top quotes ::
* One delegation has given a running commentary with offensive rhetoric of false allegations and concocted charges against my country. The world is aware that this fabricated narrative comes from the epicentre of global terrorism, where ring leaders were sheltered for years. This nation conducts cross-border terrorism as a form of ‘alternate diplomacy’.
* The recent legislative measures taken by India within the framework of its Constitution will ensure that these progressive measures will also be fully applicable to our citizens in Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. As a result, there will be an end to gender discrimination, including on property rights and local bodies representation. There will be better protection of juvenile rights and laws against domestic violence. The rights to education, information and work will now be applicable. Longstanding discrimination against refugees and under privileged sections will end.
* These decisions were taken by our Parliament after a full debate that was televised and enjoyed widespread support. We wish to reiterate that this sovereign decision, like other legislations passed by Parliament, is entirely internal to India. No country can accept interference in its internal affairs, certainly not India.
* Despite challenging circumstances, Jammu & Kashmir’s Civil Administration is ensuring basic services, essential supplies, normal functioning of institutions, mobility and nearly full connectivity. Democratic processes have been initiated. Restrictions are being eased continuously. Temporary preventive and precautionary measures were necessitated to ensure safety and security of our citizens in the face of credible threats of cross-border terrorism.
* The Government is taking affirmative actions to promote socio-economic equality and justice for the underprivileged sections of society in the spirit of its motto of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas” – which means We will carry everyone with us and leave no one behind.
* Our Constitution is supreme and guarantees fundamental rights to all our citizens, without any distinction. It secures justice, liberty and equality and promotes fraternity among all. Our belief in our secular polity is unflinching.
* Our free media, vibrant civil society and the impartial human rights institutions provide an effective framework for protection of human rights of all sections of society.