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Pakistan calls for protection of rights group in India

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan

Pakistan on Tuesday urged the UN and rights groups to provide “immediate” security to the employees of Amnesty International India.

The chairman of the Kashmir Committee at Pakistan’s National Assembly, Shehryar Afridi linked the “continuing harassment” of Amnesty International India to its work on “India’s systematic genocide of Dalits, Christians and Muslims and Kashmiri Muslims.”

“It was an alarming sign that the Indian government was running an incessant witch-hunt campaign against the human rights organizations over unfounded and motivated allegations,” Afridi told reporters here.

Earlier, Amnesty International announced it would halt its operations in India, alleging that authorities had launched a “witch-hunt” against them.

The rights group added that its bank accounts were frozen by the Indian government.

“I fear that the officials of the Amnesty and other human rights groups may be targeted by Hindutva gangsters. The world needs to immediately provide security to them,” said Afridi, adding that Amnesty International and other rights groups have accused police of complicity in the Delhi riots in which at least 50 people were killed, most of them Muslims.

“[Amnesty] reports have uncovered Indian forces atrocities in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir [IIOJ&K],” he added.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts but claimed by both in full. A small sliver of the region is also controlled by China.

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

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

According to several human rights organizations, thousands have been killed and tortured in the conflict that flared up in 1989.

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