NGOs raise concern at UNHRC over human rights violation in PoK, Gilgit-Baltistan

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

Geneva [Switzerland], Mar. 15 (ANI): Raising their concerns over gross human rights violation in Pakistan administered Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, several NGOs at the 34th United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) have brought to light the utter violence and brutality taking place in the region with an appeal to redress the same. Jamil Maqsood of NGO AIPD said the people in the mentioned regions still live in a pathetic condition, adding they don't have any freedom to exercise their fundamental rights. "Exploitation of natural resources in Gilgit-Baltistan and so-called Azad Kashmir has deprived the natives of the region from their own natural wealth. Pakistan is plundering natural resources of both regions without the consultation of local population," said Maqsood while speaking at the session here. Dusan Vejinovic, a senior research analyst at the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) based in Amsterdam, on his part said extensive operations targeting the press and pro-independence groups are carried out by the ISI, Pakistan's infamous spy-agency in the region. "Cases of arbitrary arrests by the ISI, in which people have been tortured to death, are widespread," he said. Vejinovic also brought the attention towards the UN resolutions of 1948 which 'incorrectly' mentions 'Azad' Kashmir as a 'local authority'. "In reality, it is the local colony of the State of Pakistan which rules it with impunity through its intelligence agencies," he said. Another NGO CIRAC's Nasir Aziz Khan addressed the same problem while reiterating how the freedom of expression there is suppressed and creation of independent media is prevented through bureaucratic restrictions and coercion. "Under the interim constitution of 'Azad Kashmir', enforced in 1974, aspiring candidates are "pre-screened" to ensure that only those who support Kashmir's annexation with Pakistan can contest elections," Khan said. "Any voice for Rights in Gilgit-Baltistan is suppressed by law enforcement agencies," he added. As per the speakers, the nationalist leaders there are subjected to torture and imprisonment even after peacefully protesting for their rights. "Baba Jan, Iftikhar Hussain and other political activists, who were charged under anti terrorist act (ATA) are facing 40 years life imprisonment," Maqsood said. Vejinovic quoted the example of the cold-blooded murder of the tallest nationalist leader Arif Shahid in 2013, committed by Pakistan's intelligence agency, as a recent reminder of what happens to those who do not support Jammu and Kashmir's accession to Pakistan. The speakers urged upon the HRC to take serious note on Pakistan's human rights situation and put pressure on the government to repeal all discriminatory clauses from the Constitution, stop victimisation of political opponents and protect the life and liberty of people under its administration.(ANI)