Participants explore legal dimension of Kashmir dispute, urge UN to break silence

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Zubair Qureshi

Participants of an online seminar titled ‘The Question of Kashmir in International Law’ called for exploring legal dimensions of the Kashmir Dispute in a region which hosts one third of humanity.
They urged the United Nations and the civilized world to break silence on this important issue and intervene as the Indian forces were committing gross human rights violations in the occupied region of Jammu & Kashmir.
The Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) had organized the webinar that included Shayan Malik from the Research Society of International Law (RSIL), Taimur Malik from news and analysis portal “Courting the Law” and the international law expert Dr Saadia Zahoor.
The participants discussed the law fare options available with the Kashmiris as well as Pakistan to counter the egregious human rights and international law violations by the Indian occupation forces in the occupied Kashmir.
Acting President of IPRI, Brig (Retd) Raashid Wali Janjua showcased a Kashmir Fact book prepared by the think tank which included all relevant UN Resolutions, international mediation efforts, bilateral agreements, Track II initiatives and a record of human rights and international law violations by India. Taimur Malik then mentioned how India since August the 5th, 2019 had not fulfilled its obligations to the Kashmiri population under the 4th Geneva Convention of 1950 and continued to commit egregious human rights violations against the indigenous Kashmiris. Senior Research Associate at the RSIL, Shayan Ahmed Khan dwelt on the need for highlighting gross violation of human rights as well as International Humanitarian Law by Indians.
He highlighted the need for a systematic evidence collection effort against specific acts and individuals to be prosecuted at relevant international fora like Human Rights Council and Special UN Rapporteurs. The need to invoke domestic law as well as “Universal Jurisdiction” against human rights violations in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Argentina was also emphasized as a potent law fare option.
Dr Saadia Zahoor then explained what impeded Pakistan’s ability to approach the International Court of Justice, and ICC given that both India and Pakistan did not subscribe to any bilateral or multilateral treaty granting dispute resolution jurisdiction to the ICJ.
The discussions followed a Q&A session where there was broad consensus among panelists that the question of Gilgit Baltistan’s status was starkly different to Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and that Pakistan needed to factor in all relevant risks and benefits relevant to international law and its stated position on dispute while taking any political initiative on the issue.
The need to take an aggressive stance against Indian human rights violations and war crimes armed with a strong law fare suit was the most puissant message from the webinar.

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