South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Published in The Daily Times on Oct. 22::

Pakistan is mulling over raising the issue of ceasefire violations at the Line of Control (LoC) by the Indian Army at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Daily Times has learnt on good authority.

In this regard, the diplomatic authorities are set to move a Working Group of the UNHRC where Pakistan has representation for the ongoing year, according to informed diplomatic sources. Moreover, Islamabad presently awaits a related assessment report being prepared by the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) following a recent visit of its observers to the areas of LoC and Working Boundary affected by the ceasefire violations. Reportedly, Pakistan is to base its stance against India citing the said report at the UNHRC to highlight Indian aggression at the LoC.

According to details, the diplomatic authorities have recommended to the Prime Minister’s Secretariat to raise the issue of civilian causalities at the LoC at the platform of UN Working Group on Situations that is part of UNHRC. The five-member Working Group includes Pakistan and is represented by Ambassador (r) Zamir Akram. The other four member states that are represented by their respective representatives are Austria, Romania, Chile and Congo. The Working Group on Situations works on yearly bases, and implies that the existing Working Group would meet its term on December 31.

Sources close to Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said Aziz has suggested to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to take up the LoC civilian causalities issue at the Working Group on Situations before the expiry of its existing set up. “Such kinds of decisions require approval from the highest level. Presently, Pakistan has representation at an important UN forum, whish is a plus for us,” a senior diplomatic source shared with Daily Times on Tuesday, adding that the matter could be expedited in case the related approval is granted by PM Nawaz Sharif.

Sartaj Aziz had recently written a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon seeking his intervention on the LoC issue and civilian causalities in Pakistani areas on part of Indian military. The UN’s revised Complaint Procedure system, according to the source, makes it easier for any state, group, international body or non-governmental organisation (NGO) to report human rights violations in any given region. “The civilian casualties as result of unprovoked firing plainly fall in the category of human rights violations,” the diplomat said adding that the input of the military’s General Headquarters (GHQ) has also been sought in this regard.

It merits recalling here that on October 14, an observer mission from UNMOGIP visited the WB in Sialkot sector to review the security situation at Pakistani side in the areas affected by the Indian firing. The visit took place on the invitation of GHQ. The UN military observers had an aerial view of the Charpar, Charwah and Pakhial sectors in Sialkot and also conducted a ground mission of the forward posts in adjoining areas. Later, the UN delegates visited the Military Hospital and Combined Military Hospital in Sialkot where the victims were hospitalised.

A military official said the UNMOGIP has conveyed to the GHQ that it is in the process of preparing its report on the recent visit to Pakistan’s eastern border areas.