Sat, Dec 3, 2016 | updated 10:11 AM IST

US State Department expresses concern over rights violation in PoK

Updated: Aug 24, 2016 13:00 IST

New York, Aug.24 (ANI): The United States State Department has expressed concern over human rights violation in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), maintaining that it has always been urging parties in Pakistan to settle their differences "peaceably and through a valid political process."

U.S. States Department spokesperson Mark Toner said that he could not agree with the view that nobody knew about human rights violations in PoK before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the same in recent times.

"Sure, Well, I would respectfully beg to differ. We do have concerns about the human rights situation there, have reported it for several years in our Human Rights Report, and we've obviously - are always urging all parties in Pakistan to work out their differences peaceably and through a valid political process. And with respect to Kashmir, our policy there is well known," he said.

The Prime Minister, in his concluding remarks at an all-party meeting to discuss the flare-up in Kashmir in the wake of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, had said "Pakistan forgets that it rains bombs from fighter planes on citizens of its country."

"Time has now come that Pakistan will have to answer to the world about the atrocities being committed on people in Balochistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir," he added.

Speaking from the ramparts from the historic Red Fort on the occasion of the nation's 70th Independence Day, Prime Minister Modi signalled a distinct hardening of posture against Pakistan, by raising human rights violations in Balochistan and PoK.

Prime Minister Modi said the people of PoK and Balochistan had thanked him for flagging the human rights abuses by Pakistan's security forces.

The Prime Minister's comments were criticised as "crossing a red line" by the Pakistan Government, a charge New Delhi has rejected. (ANI)