Draconian measures against Kashmiri media can’t hide Indian real face in IIOJK: FO

Islamabad, December 08 (KMS): Pakistan has said that the journalists in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) were working under intense pressure, facing intimidation, assault and arrests which cannot hide the true face of the Indian occupation from the rest of the world.

The Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch, in her weekly press briefing said that the media policy enforced in IIOJK was aimed at curtailing free flow of information and making media a mere propagator of India’s disinformation campaign. She said the Kashmiri media was barred from covering the actual situation in the occupied territory and not printing statements of the APHC leaders.

“A few weeks ago, a Kashmiri photojournalist, Ms. Sanna Irshad Mattoo, was stopped from travelling to New York to receive the prestigious Pulitzer Prize. Prominent journalists including Asif Sultan, Manan Gulzar Dar, Fahad Shah and Sajad Gul are in illegal detention in different jails. Many more have been summoned, harassed and threatened by the Indian authorities. These draconian measures cannot hide the true face of the Indian occupation from the rest of the world,” she remarked.

She said as the world was set to mark the World Human Rights Day on December 10, we must keep in our thoughts the oppressed people of IIOJK, as the human rights violations in IIOJK continue unabated and their inalienable right to self-determination continues to be denied.

The spokesperson told the media that Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Hissein Brahim Taha will undertake a visit to Pakistan from December 10-12, 2022. This will be his first country visit to Pakistan since assuming office in November 2021.

The secretary-general will call on the prime minister of Pakistan and hold delegation level meeting with the foreign minister. He will also visit Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The spokesperson expressed Pakistan’s deep concern and disappointment on the US State Department’s unilateral and arbitrary designation of Pakistan as a “Country of Particular Concern (CPC).

She said Pakistan had noted with deep concern and disappointment that India, the biggest violator of religious freedom, had once again not been included in the US State Department’s “Country of Particular Concern (CPC)” list despite clear recommendation by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

“This conspicuous omission raises serious questions about the credibility and transparency of the entire process and makes it a subjective and discriminatory exercise. International concerns over India’s treatment of religious minorities have been the subject of several hearings of the US Congress and reports of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Special Procedure Mandate Holders of the UN Human Rights Council, and reputed international NGOs,” she added.

Regarding the 30th anniversary of the demolition of the historic Babri Mosque in the Indian city of Ayodhya by Hindu zealots, she said it was a sad reminder of the growing religious intolerance in India, which should not be ignored by the international community.

The Spokesperson also expressed deep regrets over the non-issuance of visas to its Blind Cricket Team by India for participation in the third T-20 World Cup Cricket Tournament for the Blind. “As a result of the Indian decision, Pakistani players could not attend an international sporting event of special significance. India’s practice of politicizing sporting events must end. We have conveyed our deep disappointment and regrets over this incident,” she maintained.

Responding to a question, the Spokesperson said India’s efforts to portray itself as a torch bearer of counter-terrorism efforts are ironic. She said, “A country that is vigorously engaging with other countries on the subject of terrorism is itself involved in a relentless terror campaign in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Its involvement in inciting terrorism inside Pakistan is widely established and documented.”

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