Pakistan slams Indian forces’ firing at Kashmiri mourners

TEHRAN, Aug. 28 (MNA) – In a statement on Sunday, Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry "strongly condemned" the firing of pellets and tear gas against those attending the Muharram procession in Kashmir.

 “Due to the illegal and indiscriminate use of pellets, dozens of Kashmiris have reportedly been seriously injured, including with eye injuries causing permanent blindness,” reads the statement.

 It notes that the Indian forces “have been using pellet guns and lethal cartridges since 2010 resulting in a large number of deaths and grievous injuries to thousands of Kashmiris, including women and children. The Kashmiri youth has been systemically targeted in this deadly campaign.”

“Indiscriminate targeting of civilians with pellet guns, causing excessive and permanent injuries and even deaths, is a clear violation of human rights and humanitarian law. The government of India is in clear violation of the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials and the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials.”

The statement notes that the BJP leadership is the direct responsible for the illegal actions in the region.  “No illegal Acts, such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and Public Safety Act (PSA), can provide legal cover to a crime recognized as such by international law.”

 Islamabad also urged the international community to “take urgent cognizance of these egregious human rights violations” in Jammu and Kashmir and “use all tools at its disposal to hold India accountable for its illegal actions.”

Government forces have fired shotgun pellets and tear gas to disperse hundreds of mainly Shia Muslims participating in a Muharram procession in Indian-administered Kashmir, injuring dozens, witnesses have said, according to Al-Jazeera.

Jafar Ali, a witness, told AFP news agency the procession started in the Bemina area on the outskirts of the main city of Srinagar and that government forces were present in heavy numbers. Ali and other people who saw the clashes said security forces fired pellets and tear gas to break up the gathering. Police said mourners violated prohibitory orders that restrict all religious processions to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

At least 40 people were injured, according to witnesses.

"The procession was not just peaceful but was also following health protocols," said Sajjad Hussain, a witness. "They [government forces] unleashed such violence and did not spare even women mourners."

MAH/PR

News Code 162928

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