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Pakistan should dismantle special terror zones, give freedom to people of PoK: India

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Geneva, Nov 14 (UITV/IANS) - India on Monday said that Pakistan should give freedom to people of Pakistan-administered Kashmir and dismantle its 'Special Terrorist Zones', as the third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Pakistan was presented before the Human Rights Council (HRC).

India, in its recommendation, said the Pakistan government should "provide freedom to the people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) by ending its illegal and forcible occupation".

India made the recommendations during an interactive dialogue, in the 28th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council's Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

India also recommended that Pakistan dismantle its "Special Terrorist Zones", safe havens, and sanctuaries, and take action on terror financing.

Talking about minorities, India said Pakistan should end harassment of minorities, and place procedural and institutional safeguards to stop misuse of the blasphemy law, and end forceful conversions and marriages of minorities, including Hindus, Sikh and Christian women.

In the backdrop of the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav, a former Indian naval officer given death sentence by a Pakistan military court for alleged spying, India recommended that military courts in Pakistan should be barred from trying civilians and allow their monitoring by international observers and human rights organisations.

The other recommendations made by India include stopping the targeting of political dissidents and illegitimate criticism in Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, stop torture, enforced disappearance and unlawful killings, including that of journalists and activists by its security agencies and review the educational curriculum including that of Madrassas to remove extreme prejudice, religious intolerance and historical distortions.

India also said that Pakistan should stop persecution of Muslim minorities such as Shias, Ahmadiyas, Ismailia and Hazaras.

The UPR is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN member states. It is a state-driven process, under the auspices of the UNHRC, which provides the opportunity for each state to declare what actions have been taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfill their human rights obligations.

The UPR was created through the UN General Assembly on March 15, 2006, by resolution 60/251, which established the UNHRC itself.

This is the third UPR of Pakistan, being undertaken in the course of the 28th Session of the UPR Working Group.