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‘Pakistan should take Kashmir issue to int’l court’


A former chief justice of Gambia has suggested Pakistan to approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) regarding the continuing rights violations in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir.

Retired Justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan, according to a statement issued by the Srinagar-based Legal Forum for Oppressed Voices of Kashmir (FLOVK) on Saturday, said Pakistan being an important party to the long-standing dispute should approach the UN court.

Chowhan made the remarks during a three-day moot competition, The Case Pertaining to Kashmir Dispute in Islamabad.

FLOVK, which organized the event, is an international legal organization which defends “the political, social and human rights of Kashmiris.”

“If Gambia can approach the ICJ under the section of violation of human rights, why not Pakistan,” he was quoted as saying.

Pakistani authorities must explain the reason for the delay, he added.

Chowhan, a Pakistani national, was a judge in the Hague from 2006 to 2009. He later served as chief justice of Gambia between 2014 and 2015.

The former judge urged for efforts to get Kashmiris recognized before the UN the way Palestinian bodies are represented at the international forum.

“There are UN resolutions on Kashmir, they nurture the struggle of Kashmir but when we wish to address the legal aspect of the dispute, one fails to understand why Pakistan as a state and an important party to this dispute fails to approach the ICJ,” he said.

At the inaugural session of the moot court, Khalid Rahman, head of the Islamabad-based Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), highlighted Pakistan’s Kashmir policy after India stripped the disputed region of its special autonomous status last year.

Pakistan, he said, needed to improve its policies “because the paradigm shift has changed the dimension of Kashmir dispute”.

He urged the Pakistani government to never step back on the issue.

Indian-administered Kashmir has been under a near-complete lockdown since Aug. 5 when New Delhi ended the previously codified constitutional regulations for the Muslim-majority region.

Several rights groups, including the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have repeatedly called on India to lift the restrictions such as internet ban, and release political detainees.

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

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

Some Kashmiri groups in the disputed state have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several rights organizations, thousands of people have been killed and tortured in the conflict since 1989.

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