April 2002 News

Kashmiri leaders attack Pak policies at UNCHR

6 April 2002
The Times of India

NEW DELHI: Pakistan was at the receiving end at the ongoing session of United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva when two Kashmiri leaders blasted the policies pursued by Islamabad and suggested the likelihood of the banned militant groups operating in Pakistan- occupied-Kashmir and Northern Areas.Sardar Shukat Ali Kashmiri of European Union of Public Relations said in his speech that ''in view of the widespread climate of ''impunity'' prevailing in PoK and the Northern Areas, it is not surprising that terrorist groups banned recently are ''still active'' in places like Tangir district of Baltistan and in Domel area.''The depredations of these terrorist groups and the terrible toll they have taken over the years on the right of the people of Kashmir to live in freedom from fear and oppression are hard to imagine,'' he said.He said the Government of Pakistan was fully responsible and should be held accountable for denying to the people of Kashmir their right of self determination.Kashmiri also demanded restoration of democracy and freedom of expression in PoK including Gilgit and Baltistan, withdrawal of false and politically motivated cases against political workers in these areas and an immediate end to harassment of innocent civilians in PoK by the secret intelligence agencies of Pakistan and extremist groups supported by these agencies. Another delegate representing the European Union of Public Relations, Mumtaz Khan, stated that Pakistan''s systematic and sustained propoganda about atrocities in Jammu and Kashmir ''has been designed to deflect the attention of international community'' from PoK and Northern Areas under Islamabad control, which ''even lack the very basic rights.''He said Pakistan had been successful in suppressing violations in these areas which include denial of rights like ''right to freedom of speech, justice, education, health, vote and press.''Khan, a resident of Kotli in PoK and at present settled in Canada after reported harassment by Pakistani intelligence agencies, said these issues have been raised at various international fora but ''Pakistan calls it Indian sponsored propoganda to undermine the very essence of truth.''He said the people of PoK and Northern Areas were subjected to further division under Pakistani occupation and their centuries old cultural, social, political and economical links have completely been cut off.Highlighting the miseries wrought by Pakistan in PoK and Northern Areas, Khan said press was absent from both the places. ''In mid 90''s, a first weekly newspaper K-2 was started from Gilgit and Baltistan, only to be banned soon with its editor jailed for two years since he highlighted people''s grievances.''He said facilities like better education, health care and other facilities seemed to be a distant dream for the residents of these two areas. Related Stories 4,000 militants waiting to infiltrate into Kashmir Kashmir’s tragedy goes beyond headlines


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