A Canada-based Pakistani Imam has claimed that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein was in constant touch with him while preparing his recent report on alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir. The report tears into both India and Pakistan for human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
Based in Toronto, Zafar Bangash is an Imam at the Islamic Society of York Region's mosque.
While speaking at a conference on Kashmir in Canada's Mississauga, Mr Bangash said, "I can say it to you, and I say it with all humility, but with great pride that we 'The Friends of Kashmir' also have a role in the production of this report. In fact, I had personal correspondence with the High Commissioner for Human Rights, e-mail correspondence in which he responded to my personal letter and e-mail saying that he would like to have access to both sides of Line of Control."
On June 14, the UN released its first ever human rights report on Kashmir accusing security forces of gross human rights violations on both sides of the border. The report demanded Pakistan stop using its anti-terror legislation to crack down on activists. On the other hand, it accused India of using excessive force on civilians.
India called the report "fallacious, tendentious and motivated" and a "compilation of unverified information". India also registered a strong protest with the United Nations on this report.
Confessing to lobbying and consulting officials in Islamabad, Mr Bangash said, "I responded to him (Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein) after speaking to the Foreign Office spokesperson in Pakistan, MrNafees Zakaria, who used to be the Consul General in Toronto and he assured that Pakistan would welcome the UN High Commissioner and their representatives to Pakistan and they will facilitate their visit..."
The event was also attended by the president of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir Sardar Masood Khan.