I am writing in continuation of my letters dated 1, 6, 13 and 26 August, 16 September, 31 October and 12 December 2019 and 9 March and 10 April 2020 regarding the serious situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, marked by gross and systemic violations of human rights and an escalating threat to peace and security.

As my Government has repeatedly informed the Council, the current Indian leadership is bent on perpetuating India’s illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir by brutally crushing the quest of its people for their fundamental rights, especially the right to self-determination, as enshrined in the relevant Security Council resolutions.

Pakistan has also been consistently sensitizing the international community about the real Indian intention behind its illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019, which is to change the demographic structure of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and further disempower and disenfranchise the Kashmiri people. The latest steps in this direction are the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Order, 2020 and the Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure) Rules 2020. Pakistan has consistently underlined that the measures to alter Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir’s demographic structure are illegal and in violation of the Security Council resolutions and international law, in particular the Fourth Geneva Convention.

India has callously exploited the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis to intensify its military crackdown and further advance its unlawful occupation in Jammu and Kashmir. It has refused to respond to the appeals of the United Nations Secretary-General and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to release political and other prisoners at risk in crowded jails and, in violation of all humanitarian norms, increased arbitrary arrests and detentions under its draconian “emergency” laws.

Indian occupation forces are operating with characteristic brutality and complete impunity: extrajudicial killings in fake “encounters” and “cordon-and-search” operations and indiscriminate use of pellet guns and live ammunition against unarmed peaceful protestors. In April 2020 alone, Indian occupation forces took the lives of 33 Kashmiris, injured 152 and arbitrarily arrested 945. In another example of inhumanity, Indian occupation forces have refused to return the mortal remains of politically assassinated Kashmiris to their families for proper burials. At the same time, the severe collective punishment in the form of torching of houses is being wreaked on communities in the garb of so-called “encounters.” India’s actions represent State terrorism at its worst.

The Kashmiri resistance that India is facing is the direct consequence of its decades-long oppression and brutalization of the Kashmiris. Yet, and rather predictably, India is seeking to cover up the reality of the popular and indigenous struggle of the Kashmiri people, by terming it as “terrorism” and also by blaming Pakistan.

As part of this cover-up, and defying the calls of global ceasefire by the Secretary-General, India has further intensified its violations of the ceasefire along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir and the Working Boundary. Since 1 January 2020, India has committed more than 1,101 unprovoked ceasefire violations in breach of the 2003 Ceasefire Understanding between Pakistan and India. It has deliberately targeted innocent civilians on the Pakistani side of the Line of Control, killing 7 and injuring 86 innocent men, women and children.

In a further futile attempt to pin the responsibility for the indigenous Kashmiri resistance onto Pakistan, India has alleged that its artillery has targeted so-called “launch pads” of “infiltrators” on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control. While firmly rejecting these unfounded allegations, Pakistan has proposed that India communicate the location of the so-called “launch pads” to the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP), which would be taken to the indicated locations to authenticate the Indian claims. India has not provided any such information to UNMOGIP. For its part, Pakistan remains ready to provide such opportunities to the observers and also work towards strengthening UNMOGIP capacity.

India’s accompanying attempt to blame “infiltrators” for the Kashmiri resistance is all the more disingenuous because the so-called encounters between Indian occupation forces and Kashmiris have taken place well inside occupied Kashmir where Indian occupation forces have established multiple layers of security. The ostensible motive behind the Indian campaign is to create a pretext for a “false flag” operation, about which Pakistan has been forewarning the international community.

Despite Indian military and political leaders’ belligerent rhetoric and aggressive actions on the ground, Pakistan has exercised maximum restraint. Pakistan does not want another conflict. However, it has the will and capacity to respond forcefully and effectively and defend itself resolutely against any act of aggression.

In view of the worsening situation in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir and the threat it poses to peace and security in South Asia, the international community, in particular the United Nations, must take immediate steps to stop India from committing serious crimes against the Kashmiri population: extrajudicial killings in fake “encounters” and phony “cordon-and-search” operations; use of pallet guns and live ammunition against peaceful protesters; disempowerment and disenfranchisement of Kashmiri people by effecting demographic change; arbitrary detentions and incarcerations; burning and looting of Kashmiris’ houses to inflict collective punishment; and continuing military crackdown and unprecedented restrictions.

I wish to underscore that primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security under the Charter of the United Nations rests with the Security Council. It is hoped that the Security Council will shoulder this responsibility with respect to the precarious situation in South Asia, in line with its mandate and obligation towards the international community.