In statement, Foreign Office describes arbitrary detention as further evidence of Delhi’s trampling of human rights in disputed region
Pakistan on Tuesday condemned the arrest of human rights activist Khurram Parvez in India-held Kashmir, noting that international rights activists and organizations had likewise voiced alarm.
“Arbitrary arrests of human rights activists on orchestrated charges by Indian occupation forces is clear evidence of New Delhi’s state-terrorism and trampling of fundamental human rights in IIOJK [Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir],” read a statement issued by the Foreign Office.
Parvez, 40, was arrested by India’s National Investigation Agency a day earlier during a raid at his home and office over allegations of “terror funding” and “conspiracy.” His detention has drawn global outrage, with activists describing it as an attempt by the Indian state to “silence and punish human rights defenders.”
Referring to global condemnations, the Foreign Office described as “reprehensible” unwarranted searches of Parvez’s home and offices by Indian forces. “The world is aware that it has become increasingly difficult for human rights organizations and activists to continue their work in India and India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir due to an incessant witch hunt by the Hindutva driven RSS- BJP combine over unfounded and motivated allegations,” it said.
Emphasizing that the “U.N. human rights machinery, independent NGOs and global media” had reported the increasing intimidation, harassment and reprisal attacks by Indian armed forces against Kashmiri human rights defenders, journalists and civil society actors since Aug. 5, 2019, the statement urged the global community to hold India accountable for its actions.
“We call on the international community to hold India accountable for continued clampdown against human rights organizations and activists for undertaking their duty to expose gross and systematic human rights violations of Kashmiris in India-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, and the minorities, especially Muslims, in India,” it added.
Also on Tuesday, Amnesty International criticized India over Parvez’s arrest, stressing it was “yet another example” of misuse and violation of anti-terror laws by India. “The arrest of Kashmiri activist Khurram Parvez is yet another example of how anti-terror laws are being misused to criminalize human rights work and stifle dissent in India,” it said in a posting on Twitter, and called on Indian authorities to ensure accountability for individuals and organizations involved in human rights violations in India-held Kashmir rather than “targeting” human rights defenders.
Last year, Amnesty International was forced to shutter its operations in India after authorities froze its bank accounts. In a statement, the group said it had no choice but to halt its work due to “reprisals” from the government.