Asia - Pacific

Experts suggest 'lawfare' against India to prevent rights abuse in Kashmir

Law experts gather in Islamabad to discuss situation of human rights in disputed region

Islamuddin Sajid   | 01.12.2021
Experts suggest 'lawfare' against India to prevent rights abuse in Kashmir File Photo

ISLAMABAD

Law experts have suggested "lawfare" against India to prevent human rights abuse against residents in Indian-administered Kashmir.

A seminar on human rights violations in Kashmir was held in Pakistan's capital Islamabad on Tuesday by the Legal Forum for Kashmir (LFK), an international advocacy group, in collaboration with All Parties Hurriyat Conference - Azad Kashmir, a pro-freedom group in the disputed region.

Speaking at the event, retired Justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan, a former judge at the United Nations, said: “Kashmir is a disputed territory recognized by the international community and Responsibility To Protect in a given situation and as interim measures are the best options for Kashmir to use against India.”

The Responsibility to Protect -- known as R2P -- is a global commitment endorsed by the UN to ensure action against crimes of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

Chowhan, who also served as chief justice of Gambia, said: "The State of Pakistan and people of Kashmir have the same interest of freeing Kashmir from the Indian occupation."

“Even if ICJ [International Court of Justice] is not in a position to resolve the Kashmir issue permanently, at least the other lawfare options can send urgent relief and ease the lives of the people by stopping brutal killings at the hands of Indian occupying forces,” he added.

Advocate Nasir Qadri, the executive director of LFK, said there is little possibility of direct confrontation between Pakistan and India because they are both nuclear powers.

“Now is the high time for result-oriented pro-active steps to shame and expose Indian war crimes at the international level, and the tool for such work is lawfare,” Qadri added.

He went on to say that Kashmiri victims should come forward and give testimonies at the international legal forums which would result in the conviction of the war criminals because lawfare is not possible for Pakistan without the support of the people of Kashmir.

Faiz Naqshbandi, convener of Hurriyet Conference Azad Kashmir chapter, also accused India of committing human rights violations in Kashmir.


Disputed region

Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- with two of them over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

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