International bodies blame Pakistan for colonising PoK
16 August 2003
The Hindustan Times
Press Trust of India
New Delhi: Alleging 'unabashed rigging' in last year's presidential referendum and 'patently illegal' constitution amendments to empower an 'unelected' president in Pakistan, two major international bodies have chastised the Pervez Musharraf regime for 'blatant colonisation' of Pak-occupied Kashmir, 'erosion' of democratic governance and 'breakdown' of law and order. 'An inevitable fallout of the erosion of democratic governance has been the unleashing of unprecedented violence against minorities and other vulnerable groups,' the Afro-Asian People's Solidarity Organisation (AAPSO) and European Union of Public Relations (EUPR) said at the recently concluded 55th session of UN sub-commission on promotion and protection of human rights. The two bodies, in their intervention in the session on administration of justice and rule of law and democracy, also blamed the Musharraf regime for 'absence of democracy, rule of law and justice in Pakistan' as well as its 'blatant colonisation of PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan'. 'While a sham legislature has been set up in PoK to create a facade of self- rule, even this fig leaf has been denied to the people of Gilgit- Baltistan which remains in a constitutional limbo having been annexed to the territory of Pakistan in complete disregard of the hopes and aspirations of its people,' Mohd Mumtaz Khan of AAPSO and Mir Mohammad of EUPR, told the session which ended in Geneva on Friday. The representatives of the two world bodies alleged that reputed international institutions had said that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan 'lack representation in all decision-making forums, the workings of which have been described as being shrouded in mystery'. They pointed out that the chief executive, who is Pakistan's minister for Kashmir affairs and northern areas, was selected from the Pakistani parliament and was therefore 'not answerable to the people of either PoK or Gilgit-Baltistan'. Stating that 'erosion' of democratic governance had led to unleashing of 'unprecedented violence' against minorities, the AAPSO and EUPR representatives said Pakistani citizens also 'continue to suffer unprecedented brutality at the hands of police and paramilitary forces' and quoted the recent instances of firing on farmers resisting eviction from the Okara military farms in Punjab.On minorities, they gave examples of gunning down of Shias in Quetta in July and earlier 'targeted killings' of Christians.Khan (AAPSO) and Mohammad (EUPR) also referred to the report of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and said 'extra-judicial killings have increased dramatically in number while those in police custody frequently face torture and illegal detention'.Demanding remedial measures, they said the 'steady erosion of democracy, rule of law and administration of justice in Pakistan, PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan has led to the criminal abdication of the state's basic responsibilities'.