Pak Comes Under UN Fire For PoK Rights Violation
23 August 2003
The Indian Express
New Delhi: Pakistan came under severe attack both at the just concluded United Nation sub-committee on human rights and its sidelines for gross violation of the rights in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and maltreatment of people and uprising in northern areas like Gilgit and Baltistan. Traditionally a battle ground for India and Pakistan for last seven years, the focus this time shifted to PoK with several international groups charging Pakistan with gross human rights violations in the occupied areas. Several seminars held on the sidelines of the global meet were also critical of Pakistan government's trampling on the fundamental rights of people in northern areas including Gilgit and Baltistan. The first seminar organised by World Peace Council focused on the Mangla dam being erected in PoK with JKLF leader Shabir Chaudhury pointing out that raising the height of the dam would result in watery grave for thousands of people in Mirpur. Another senior separatist leader Shaukat Kashmiri called upon people in Jammu and Kashmir to join hands with their counterparts in PoK and northern areas in sensitising the international community about the excesses committed by Pakistan and its 'callous attitude towards Kashmiris'. During a second seminar, Nazir Geelani of International Kashmir Alliance said that during last so many years, all that Kashmiris had achieved was building emotional memorials to their loved ones lost in militancy while losing the moorings of a tolerant and civil society. Other Kashmiri leaders, including Mumtaz Khan and Abbas Bhat, said the International Kashmir Alliance should differentiate between the aspirations of the Kashmiris and the territorial and colonial ambitions of Pakistan. While countering the statement of Ghulam Nabi Fai of World Peace Council that a plebiscite should be held in Jammu and Kashmir, eminent Kashmiri intellectual Riyaz Punjabi said that Islamabad needs to read the fine print of the UN resolution which states that Pakistan had to withdraw its troops from PoK and northern areas first. 'Pakistan had not implemented the condition precedent and hence could hardly complain about what should or could have followed thereafter,' he told the Pakistani delegates. Another Pakistani supporter Altaf Qadiri of International Human Rights Association of American Minorities raised the issue of human rights violations in Kashmir, but was countered by Punjabi by saying that 'at least there are courts in Kashmir, which heard and delivered justice. How many such cases could be reported in PoK.' Mohammed Mir of European Union of Public Relations criticised Pakistan for using the youth of northern areas as fodder for jehadi culture. He also circulated lists of inhabitants of Gilgit who were either dead or missing after being pushed across the Line of Control by ISI. Another list was also circulated by him among the delegates which contained the names of inhabitants of Gilgit who had refused to obey Pakistani directives and were tortured and killed by ISI.