EU May Take Up HR Violations In PoK At UN Commission
13 February 2005
The Daily Excelsior
New Delhi: The European Union (EU) has assured a Kashmiri group that it will take into account human rights violations in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and northern areas comprising Gilgit and Baltistan while finalising its agenda for next month's session of the UN commission on human rights. This was stated by Chairperson of the Sub-Committee on Human Rights of European Union, MME Helene Flautre, to a delegation of International Kashmir Alliance (IKA), an amalgam of overseas Kashmiri separatist organisations headed by Syed Nazir Gilani, which visited Brussels recently. 'We briefed her on human rights situation in three administrations - Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir), Muzzafarabad and Gilgit (both in PoK). She has no knowledge about the administration of northern areas,' Gilani told PTI over phone from London. 'It was agreed that she will take on board our views on PoK and northern areas and that her delegation will remain in touch with us during the forthcoming session,' he said. Flautre took keen interest to know about restraints being put on the freedom of choice and freedom of expression in PoK and the human rights situation in northern areas, he said. 'She was surprised to know that Pakistan Government has not honoured the PoK High Court's ruling that northern areas are part of PoK,' Gilani said. He said 'our visit has quashed the earlier monopolised impression caused due to free run by the Kashmir centre (of Pakistan). Our efforts have been considered important and more reliable.' The IKA delegation later met human rights committee member Liz Lynne, Member European Parliament (MEP) from alliance of liberals and democrats for Europe, and discussed the situation with her, Gilani said. Lynne is tabling a resolution in the European Parliament expressing concern about alleged violation of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir. 'After detailed discussions, she agreed to amend the resolution and include PoK and northern areas in her resolution,' he said. The delegation also met MEP of European People's Party, Philip Bushill-Mathews, who is on the Foreign Affairs Committee and co-chair of European Parliaments' group on Kashmir. Mathews recently chaired the International Kashmir Conference in Islamabad. 'The IKA delegation highlighted the exploitation of Muslim sentiments and the plight of Kashmiri Pundits who have been thrown out of their homes,' Gilani said and added the MEP was impressed by the view-point and appreciated the 'secular stand' of the IKA. The last in the series was an interaction with Charles Tannock, vice chairman of human rights. 'He concurred with us that Pakistan exploited Muslim sentiments and used the human rights question to advance its national interest,' he said. Besides Gilani, other members of the delegation were IKA's secertary general Shaukat Ali Kashmiri and Jamil Maqsood.