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August 11, 2000
UNHRC meet: Pakistan criticised for supporting Kashmir violence
G Sudhakar Nair in Geneva
Pakistan came in for sharp condemnation at the meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva for 'supporting violence in Kashmir in the name of religion', even as world governments were urged to pressurise Islamabad to dismantle the religious schools allegedly imparting terrorist training.
Non-governmental organisations told the sub-commission meeting during a debate on Realisation of economic, social and cultural rights that people in Kashmir were 'tired of conflict'.
"Violence continues in the name of religion as a result of Pakistan-led terrorist jihad on Kashmir soil," said Juanita Olivier of the European Union of Public Relations.
Khalid Jahangir of the Himalayan Research and Cultural Foundation voiced concern over the so-called jihad by Muslim mujahideen saying Islam did not sanctify it and Islamic tenets did not approve of it.
An NGO, Pax Romana, wondered how Pakistan could indirectly support calls for jihad and, at the same time, talk of upholding democratic values.
Olivier said it was a sad situation that Pakistan, a 'poor country', was using its land and resources to harass its neighbour and was refusing to give its people their democratic rights.
She said the developed countries had an obligation to give priority attention to situations where there were threats to democracy.
Olivier also accused the Taliban, whose writ runs across 90 per cent of Afghanistan, of taking the country to the 'Dark ages' through repression and oppression. She called for reinstalling democratic values in the strife-torn country.
Tataiana Shaumian of the International Institute of Peace regretted the emergence of a dangerous trend in Pakistan where young minds were inculcated with ideas of hate and violence in madrassas (religious schools).
She accused the madrassas of actively engaging in assembly line-style production of child soldiers and in effectively depriving a large percentage of children of the joys of a normal childhood.
"Educational structures that teach the ideology of violence, hatred and the denial of rights of others on the basis of religion or gender should be dismantled," said Shaumian while asking nation states to take a lead in this matter.
"The Taliban, like many other armed groups, was a product of the network of madrassas run by religious parties in Pakistan," she said.
Tataiana said the 'decay' in educational structures in Pakistan helped madrassas to proliferate.
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