The Indian army earlier this week used cluster ammunition to target the civilian population in Azad Jammu and Kashmir across the Line of Control in violation of the Geneva Convention and international law, the Inter-Services Public Relations said on Saturday.
According to the statement, the Indian military on the night of July 30/July 31 targeted innocent citizens including women and children in Neelum Valley through artillery using cluster ammunition. The attack left two civilians, including a 4-year-old boy, dead and 11 others were critically injured.
“This is [a] violation of Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law,” the military’s media wing said, adding that the use of cluster ammunition is prohibited under the Convention on Cluster Ammunition because of its severe impact on non-combatants.
Dropped from planes or fired from artillery, cluster bombs explode in mid-air, scattering bomblets, with many civilians getting killed or maimed by their indiscriminate, wide-area effect. They also pose a lasting threat as many bomblets fail to explode on impact.
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, “Cluster munitions kill and injure large numbers of civilians and cause long-lasting socio-economic problems. The 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions prohibits the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions and requires States to ensure that they claim no further victims.”
“This blatant Indian aggression against all international norms exposes true character of Indian Army and their moral standing,” the ISPR statement said. It added that it was time for the international community to take notice of “this Indian blatant violation of international laws” on use of cluster ammunition for the purpose of targeting innocent citizens.
The military’s media wing also shared images of civilians who sustained gruesome injuries from the Indian troops’ use of cluster munitions. Talking to a private news channel, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday urged the United States and world powers to force India to start mediation talks on Kashmir issue. He said contrary to the past, the United States and India presently have very good relationship and if Washington wants, it can use its influence over New Delhi for resolution of Kashmir dispute.
The Foreign Minister said the resolution of Kashmir issue is must for peace and stability in the region. He added that Kashmir issue has become a flashpoint due to the Indian attitude. Qureshi turned to Twitter saying “Strongly condemn the blatant use of cluster ammunition by Indian Security Forces targeting innocent civilians along the Line Of Control. This is clear violation of the Geneva Convention and International Laws.” India in it’s war frenzy is not only sabotaging regional peace but also committing gross human rights violations along the LOC. I urge the nations of the world to take strict notice of the ongoing situation in IOK and LOC. Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor on Saturday condemned the use of cluster munitions by the Indian Army along the Line of Control targeting the civilian population. He further stated that “no weapon can suppress the determination of Kashmiris to get their right to self-determination”.
“The enemy troops are constantly firing toy-shaped cluster bombs, mortar and medium artillery shells in civilian-populated areas … If anyone spots any such device or gadget, including a mobile phone, he should not even touch it, let alone pick it up and take home,” said the home department in a press release. Instead, it added, “the nearest police station, civil defence officials or volunteers or village defence committee members should be informed about it because such a device can take your life”.
Meanwhile, showing unity, Pakistani politicians have strongly condemned use of cluster ammunition by Indian security forces targeting innocent civilians along the Line of Control.
Pakistan People’s Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that use of cluster bombs by Indian Army in Kashmir is outrageous. Bilawal went on to say “India continues to flout international conventions in its bloody attempt to stifle aspirations of the people of Kashmir.”