UNITED NATIONS - Pakistan told the UN on Monday that India's use of pellet guns against peaceful protesters in Indian Occupied Kashmir has left many young Kashmiris blinded, stating the move amounted to "first mass blinding in human history."
Speaking at the General Assembly's Special Political and Decolonisation (Fourth) Committee, Pakistan's UN Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi also said that the UN’s decolonisation agenda would remain incomplete without settling the Kashmir dispute on the basis of Security Council resolutions that pledged the right of self-determination to the Kashmiri people.
She emphasised that implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the decolonisation agenda was not limited to the issue of Non Self-Governing Territories, but also encompassed other peoples living under alien occupation.
"Our aim, therefore, should be to ensure that all peoples under colonial administration or foreign occupation are allowed to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination," the Pakistani envoy said.
The Kashmiri people, she said, were still waiting for the Organisation to fulfil its promise to hold a United Nations supervised plebiscite that would enable them to determine their own political destiny.
"This represents the most persistent failure of the United Nations," Maleeha Lodhi told delegates.
By use of force and fraud, India had prevented the people of Occupied Jammu and Kashmir from exercising their fundamental right to self-determination, she recalled, pointing out that it had deployed tens of thousands of troops to suppress the freedom struggle there.
Accusing India of indulging in "worst form of State terrorism", the Pakistani envoy said that the use of pellet guns against unarmed peaceful protesters had blinded and maimed for life a generation of young Kashmiris.
"This has been aptly described as the first mass blinding in human history".
Contrary to India’s claims, Jammu and Kashmir had never been and never could be an integral part of that country, Maleeha Lodhi asserted, underlining that it was disputed territory and its final status had yet to be determined in accordance with Security Council resolutions.
Similarly, the continued denial of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people was the "core underlying cause of conflict and a grave impediment" to lasting peace in the Middle East, the Pakistani envoy said.
In this context, she denounced Israel's illegal policy of settlement construction, stating it was progressively eroding the future State of Palestine from within.
Maleeha Lodhi's strong advocacy of the cause of Kashmir evoked a response from Indian diplomat Srinivas Prasad who claimed the dispute was not relevant to the Committee's agenda. Responding to India's comment, Pakistani delegate Saima Syed emphasised that Jammu and Kashmir remained a dispute under any definition, and there was an explicit obligation for the United Nations and the parties to work to resolve it.
"The struggle of the Kashmiri people for self determination is a legitimate struggle," Ms. Sayed said, adding, that they have the right to receive moral and political support from the international community.