Pakistan says India's presence in Kashmir raises threat of 'genocide'

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi tells the top United Nations human rights forum that India's "illegal military occupation" of the Muslim-majority territory of Kashmir raises the spectre of "genocide."

Foreign minister urges UN to act on India's lockdown of Kashmir and Jammu

Kashmiri Shia Muslims in Srinagar shout slogans on Sunday as they are detained by Indian police, during restrictions following the scrapping of the special constitutional status for Kashmir by the Indian government. (Danish Ismail/Reuters)

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the top United Nations human rights forum on Tuesday that India's "illegal military occupation" of the Muslim-majority territory of Kashmir raises the spectre of "genocide."

India revoked the autonomy of the disputed Himalayan region, home to eight million people and a flashpoint for the nuclear-armed neighbours, on Aug. 5.

"The forlorn, traumatized towns, mountains, plains and valleys of Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir reverberate today, with the grim reminders of Rwanda, Srebrenica, the Rohingya, and the pogrom of Gujarat," Qureshi told the UN Human Rights Council.

"The Kashmiri people in the occupied territory — as a national, ethnic, racial and religious group of people — face grave threats to their lives, way of living and livelihoods from a murderous, misogynistic and xenophobic regime," he said.

There was no immediate comment from India in the council.

India and Pakistan both rule parts of Kashmir while claiming it in full. They have fought two wars over the region and their forces regularly trade fire across a 740-kilometre Line of Control, which is the de facto border.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi made his statements on the situation in India-administered Kashmir during the 42nd session of the Human Rights Council at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva on Tuesday. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

India flooded the Kashmir valley with troops, restricted movements and cut off communication as Prime Minister Narendra Modi withdrew special rights for the region on Aug. 5. Mobile and internet connections have been cut off ever since.

Qureshi, speaking to reporters in Geneva, said: "I do not see in the present environment any possibility of a bilateral engagement with India."

He urged UN secretary general Antonio Guterres and the Security Council to help defuse tensions.

"Today eight million people are in prison, deprived of every political and civil liberty. The world cannot remain silent and the world should not remain silent. And if they do, they will be part of this criminal negligence," he said.

India has battled separatist militants in its part of Kashmir since the late 1980s, accusing Muslim Pakistan of supporting them. Pakistan denies that, saying it only offers political support to the people of Kashmir.