Exiled leaders from PoK, Gilgit-Baltistan blame Pak for human rights violations
The leaders from Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan raised human rights issues at a side event in the United Nations during the 28th session of Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Geneva: The leaders from Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan raised human rights issues at a side event in the United Nations during the 28th session of Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The event titled ' Human Rights in South Asia' was organized by the United Kashmir People's National Party (UKPNP) and supported by other political parties and human rights organizations from PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan.
The speakers criticized Pakistan for human rights violations, extra-judicial killings and allowing of external forces to exploit resources of PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan.
"There is a political body in Gilgit-Baltistan which is called Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly. Unfortunately in the last five years, we have seen that political institution does not have the right to legislate. It can pass resolutions and send it to Islamabad and Islamabad has the right to accept it or to reject it and all the resolutions passed in the last five years were rejected and not a single resolution was passed," said Senge Hasnan Sering, President, Institute for Gilgit-Baltistan Studies.
Senge said that Pakistan's response to the local demand has been sedition charges, life imprisonment, torture and death.
He condemned the life imprisonment to 12 political activists in Gilgit-Baltistan. On September 26, 2014, 12 political activists of Gilgit-Baltistan were given life in prison under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).
Prominent among them are Babajan, Hunzai and Iftikhan Hussain, who were detained for allegedly instigating a demonstration in support of internally displaced people of the Hunza Valley.
"Freedom of expression is extremely important as when we come to UN we especially talk about it. Freedom of expression in political activity is very important. Unfortunately in Gilgit-Baltistan, a lot of our political activists are facing sedition charges, more than 200 of them. 12 of them have been given life sentence. These people have been charged for sedition," Senge said.
"They were talking about the rights of the local people. Everything is being said here with freedom but in GB they are putting their own life in their honour and their own economic interest at stake. That is the bravery they show. The price they have paid is that they are facing life sentence in the jail. That is something the international community needs to support us," he added.
Dr Shabir Choudhry of Kashmir National Party, London, said: "Gilgit-Baltistan and the so called Azad Kashmir are not part of Pakistan and we have every right to express our opinion on that and protest against the imperial policies of Islamabad."
He also questioned Pakistan for arresting and imprisoning nationalist leaders in Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan.
Ghulam Hussain, President of Kashmir Freedom Movement from UK, said: "We have a country where we have a Prime Minister, our own judiciary and our own elected assembly, but in fact it's not a country. It is not recognized by its neighbor and very close friend Pakistan."
"Over 65 years this is happening in Azad Kashmir," he added while asserting that there is no freedom of expression in Azad Kashmir.