Harassment Of Political Workers Must Stop In Pakistani Administered Kashmir20 May 2010
London: Pakistani secret agencies are systematically harassing political activists in areas of the State of Jammu and Kashmir under their control. ‘This policy of hounding and victimising political activists must stop now that there is a democratic government in Islamabad’, said Dr Shabir Choudhry, a senior leader of Kashmir National Party. ‘What good is democracy if secret agencies are still out of control and they continue to arrest, harass and intimidate citizens’, asked Dr Shabir Choudhry? He said, ‘Prime responsibility of every government is to protect life, liberty, property and dignity of the people; and not to allow its secret agencies to target citizens who differ with policies of the government.’ Dr Shabir Choudhry said Shafqat Inquilabi who hails from Gilgit Baltistan has been harassed by the agencies of Pakistan ever since he challenged the Gilgit Baltistan Ordinance in Supreme Court of Pakistan. Last month on 27 April, he was kept in detention for 24 hours without any charges and later on expelled from his native area of Gilgit Baltistan. Shafqat Inquilabi ‘feels he was victimised for his writ petition in Pakistan’s Supreme Court, challenging the ‘autonomy package’ announced last year’. He thinks, ‘his life is at risk, clandestine agencies of Pakistan’s security apparatus have been harassing him with the aim of forcing him to withdraw his writ petition from Pakistan’s Supreme Court’. The agencies of Pakistan have created serious problems for Shafqat Inquilabi and his relatives; and they continue to phone and harass his relatives and friends. Agencies have also started harassing his friends and business partner. They have created very serious problems for his work and business to cripple him financially. In Pakistan and Pakistani Administered Kashmir it is common to ‘arrange an accident’ to eliminate or silence political opponents and undesirable political activists. It is feared that one day Shafqat Inquilabi might also experience this type of ‘accident’. Dr Shabir Choudhry said if anything happens to Shafqat Inquilabi then government of Pakistan will be responsible for this. He appealed human rights organisations and all those who believe in liberal and democratic society to raise voice against this intimidation and oppression.