Geneva: Kashmiri political activists and intellectuals have strongly criticised Pakistan for its duplicity on Kashmir during the 40th Session of United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) at Geneva on Tuesday.
Junaid Qureshi, a Kashmiri and director of the European Foundation of South Asian Studies (EFSAS) lambasted Pakistan for becoming a broker to China. He said, “Firstly, Pakistan invaded Jammu and Kashmir in 1947. Since then, it has been an Occupier - And now, it is a broker, as it is negotiating the sale of Gilgit Baltistan to Beijing”.
In collaboration with China, Pakistan’s attempts to change the status of Gilgit Baltistan have increased exponentially, as the region is vital for the construction of the illegal China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
He added, “The Pakistani Supreme Court, in its verdict of 17 January 2019, rightly acknowledged that Gilgit Baltistan is a disputed territory and its status cannot be changed. However, the said disputed status of this integral part of Jammu and Kashmir, strangely enough, did not prevent the same Supreme Court from extending its own jurisdiction over the region."
“Pakistan has forcibly divided Jammu and Kashmir while it continues fomenting terrorism and keeps deceiving the world by manifesting itself as a self-styled protector of the rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir for over seven decades,” said Qureshi.
Junaid added, "The people of Jammu and Kashmir fear that Pakistan’s sheer cunningness and utter hypocrisy will keep prevailing at the expense of my generation and coming generations. Unless the UN intervenes and proves us wrong."
Activists from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) also highlighted the issue of gross human rights violations and the mushrooming of terror camps in the region. Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, the chairman of United Kashmir Peoples National Party told the UNHRC that Pakistan has been using their land as launching pad to orchestrate terror activities and destruction in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere in the region.
He said, “We are very much concerned about the growing menace of terrorism from Pakistan and its implications on regional and international peace.” Kashmiri also raised other issues concerning the people of PoK and Gilgit Baltistan.
“Pakistan has violated international law as well as United Nations resolutions and created an unfair consolidation in its peripheries. They have constructed many dams in the disputed territories beyond its mandate and deprived millions of Pakistan of basic needs, the diversion of Neelam, Jhelum rivers have created drastic environmental effects in life and livelihood of the people as well as on natural habitat of the region under its illegal control”, Kashmiri told the UNHRC.
Jamil Maqsood, a political activist from PoK, who now lives in Brussels, told the UNHRC about Islamabad's deliberate attempts to restrict him from travelling back home by blocking his Pakistani passport.
Jamil said, “Pakistani authorities have restricted my travel back home in so-called Azad Kashmir by blocking my Pakistani passport, since 30th of October 2017 and an online request for the renewal of the said document has not been responded since 9th January 2019 respectively”.
He further stated that Pakistani authorities have been using these tactics to press the voices at such prestigious forums.
"I, request to the Council to take serious heed to human rights violation in so-called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. I’m not the only victim of such Pakistani policies in recent years. However, I request to the Council to formulate a mechanism of issuing UN travel documents to the people of Pakistani peripheries, so they could permanently get rid of the repugnant attitude of the Pakistani state," he asserted.
Updated Date: Mar 13, 2019 11:00:21 IST