Geneva [Switzerland]: Kashmiri activists have strongly criticised Pakistan for violating the United Nations resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir by plundering natural resources and carrying out human rights violations in the erstwhile princely state.
Speaking during the 39th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, the exiled Chairman of United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP), Shaukat Ali Kashmiri said, “Pakistan is violating the UN resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir and constructing dams in disputed areas of so-called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. Pakistan has diverted Neelum River for Hydropower Project, which is depriving people of Muzaffarabad of their water lifeline”.
“The hundreds of thousands of resident of Muzaffarabad facing environmental disaster, there are chances of spreading of diseases because of pollution. Chief Justice of Pakistan recently said that if someone opposes construction of dams would be tried under Article 6 of Pakistan, which is related to high treason. Our natural resources are plundered and local people are forced to leave their own land,” he added.
Kashmiri activists also raised the issue of threat to the judiciary and rising incidents of enforced disappearances in the country.
Jamil Maqsood, the former foreign spokesperson of United Kashmir People’s National Party, said in his intervention that the areas under Pakistani occupation have no freedom of expression and judiciary is lacking independence.
He said that the misuse of anti-terrorism act in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan is causing worst human rights issues.
“The counter-terrorism operations has resulted significant human rights issues included extrajudicial and targeted killings; disappearances; torture; lack of rule of law, and frequent mob violence and vigilante justice with limited accountability. Arbitrary detention; lengthy pretrial detention; a lack of judicial independence in the lower and also at high courts; governmental infringement on citizens’ privacy rights; harassment of journalists, and high-profile attacks against journalists and media organizations,” Jamil elucidated.
He further said, “Government restrictions on freedom of assembly, movement, and freedom of religion and discrimination against religious minorities, and sectarian violence continued. Lack of criminal investigations or accountability for cases related to rape, violence based on gender, gender identity and sexual orientation, sexual harassment, purchasing land in so-called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan military officers of Pakistan and Pakistani nationals violating State Subject Rule it would change the demography of the disputed regions.”
While showing his resentment about the recently-launched 49-page report of Kashmir by UN Human Rights Office, Junaid Qureshi, who hails from Srinagar valley, said, “Prima facie, as a Kashmiri, it was assuaging to note, that such an eminent office has, after all, accepted that we Kashmiris are also worthy of human rights. Yet, it is a cruel irony with the people of Jammu and Kashmir that this report chose to take the killing of a terrorist in 2016, as the starting point of our 70 year-long sufferings. The report did not start with Pakistan’s violent invasion of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947 and subsequent illegal occupation, which has caused the forced division of my land and separation of an entire people”.
Junaid added that the UN report on Kashmir has no mention about Pakistan-sponsored terrorist camps. He explained, “The High Commissioner seems not to be sensitive to history that ancient, but surely he must know what happened in Jammu and Kashmir 30 years ago when Pakistan fomented its proxy war in the state by creating, funding and training terrorist groups like Lashkar-e-Taibah, Hizbul Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammed.”
“This blatant export of terrorism emanating from Pakistan continues even today and has shattered peace, disintegrated family structures and ruptured the social fabric of my homeland. But still, it did not warrant a mention in the said report,” he further said.
“Respect for human rights is universal and paramount and applies to all countries including India and Pakistan. However, through its incorrect narrative based on serious historical omissions, and factual errors, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, has failed miserably at conveying this simple, yet important message,” Junaid concluded.