Now it is India’s turn: ‘Free Kashmir, other states’ posters appear in Geneva

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GENEVA: Banners in Switzerland calling for the freedom of Tripura Nagaland Manipur & Kashmir on metro busses & trams at the 36th session of UNHRC

GENEVA: Switzerland’s capital Geneva has become ‘a hideout’ for vigorous campaign of issues related to Pakistan and India. Last week, details of a campaign on Balochistan and minorities in Pakistan were published in ‘The Nation’. This week, information is being provided on a new campaign targeting India. Posters demanding the liberation of ‘India administered Kashmir and some Indian states have appeared on metro buses and trams in Geneva, where the 36th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council is currently under way.

Some of them read: “Jammu and Kashmir seeks attention”, ‘‘Free Nagaland” and “Free Indigenous Tripura”. Nobody has claimed responsibility for putting up the posters.

Posters and advertisements calling for the liberation of Kashmir, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura from Indian tyranny have popped up in different parts of Geneva.

Local transport services such as buses and streetcars plying different routes of the city have been seen carrying ads demanding an end to Indian occupation and atrocities in these areas.

Geneva is home to one of the four main UN offices and the 36th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council is under way in the Swiss city.

The appearance of posters comes days after Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Farukh Amil drew the attention of the Swiss authorities to a “Free Balochistan” campaign in Geneva.

In his letter, Mr Amil demanded the Swiss authorities investigate the display of “anti-Pakistan” posters in Geneva and take action to stop such an incident from occurring again.

Ambassador-designate of Switzerland, Thomas Kelly, was also summoned to the Foreign Office by Additional Secretary for Europe Zaheer A. Janjua to lodge a protest against the display of “anti-Pakistan posters and an insidious paid campaign against Pakistan”, according to a handout issued earlier by the FO.

On Sept 21, the Senate suspended till further notice the workings of a Pak-Switzerland Friendship Group in reaction to the appearance of “Free Balochistan” posters.

Earlier, Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani described the occurrence of the posters as an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty and asked Law Minister Zahid Hamid why the posters continued to be displayed in Switzerland even after Pakistan had summoned the Swiss ambassador and recorded its protest.

“According to the UN Charter, no country can allow its soil to be used against another state,” Mr Rabbani said. Senators have also insisted on expelling the Swiss ambassador from Pakistan.

Pakistan and India’s longstanding dispute regarding the Jammu and Kashmir territory was hotly debated during last week’s UN General Assembly session.

On Sept 23, India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj took a swipe at Pakistan, telling the UN General Assembly that Islamabad had given the world “terrorists” while India was producing top-notch doctors and engineers.

In her diatribe, she had said, “Pakistan is recognised only as the pre-eminent export factory for terror.”

Responding to the charges levelled by Swaraj Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi had said that India was using terrorism as a state policy.

“Her comments towards my country betray the hostility that the Indian leadership has towards Pakistan —the hostility we have endured for 70 years,” Ambassador Lodhi had told the assembly.

The Pakistani diplomat had said that India’s military occupation of the State was illegal as the UN Security Council had, in over a dozen resolutions, decided that the dispute must be resolved by enabling the people of Jammu and Kashmir to determine their own destiny through a UN-supervised plebiscite.