April 1999 News

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Pro-Pak rights campaigner blames Pak, APHC

20th April 1999
Indian Express

NEW DELHI: The Indian camp had reasons to cheer at the onset of the ongoing session of United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR). The reason: a top pro-Pakistani campaigner, whose high-pitched rhetoric on "atrocities in Kashmir" had rattled their nerves for years, has called it quits.

Sayed Nazir Geelani, founder of the Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights (JKCHR), a non-governmental organisation fighting for Kashmiri secessionists in the world fora, has condemned the Pakistani authorities and the All parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), the secessionist conglomerate of Kashmiri leaders, for perpetrating violence in Kashmiri society and challenged JKCHR authority to speak for the Kashmiris.

Geelani, a British national of Kashmiri origins, released his report castigating the APHC leaders for failing to "respect the right to life of Kashmiris to the right of self-determination" in London. The release coincided with the ongoing 56th session of the UNHRC at Geneva, an occasion for the Indian and Pakistani delegates who have often indulged in intense lobbying in J&K in the past.

Home Ministry authorities hail Nazir's desertion of the Pakistani camp as a "major setback" to the Pakistan-sponsored campaign on human rights abuse by security forces in Kashmir. "He (Geelani) enjoyed high credibility among opinion-makers the world over and his speaking so plainly would definitely change many a heart," a senior official told The Indian Express.

Nazir says the APHC's boycott of the Kashmir elections was their major mistake in the recent past. The APHC's style of functioning and its politics had perpetrated spate of violence in Kashmir and diluted the importance of the "Kashmir issue in the United Nations".

Nazir Geelani's exhaustive report mostly points out to contradictions in the APHC stand and the Pakistani authorities ambiguity on lending support to the Kashmiri "movement". "Pakistan and India ran parallel in feud to each other for about 51 years. It has not paid them. How would it pay the people of Kashmir, if the post 1990 leadership coy away from a dialogue?" the reports asks.

It suggests the Kashmiri leadership not to remain immune to the ongoing Indo-Pakistan dialogue and look beyond their hackneyed positions on Kashmir.

Nazir Geelani feels the Kashmiri leadership (APHC) had pushed the Kashmiris into a seemingly unending phase of bloodshed. The human rights campaigner has rebuffed Indian-bashers on Kashmir through his concluding remarks in the report which states: "Human rights abuse would continue until we become even-handed in our condemnation of all such injustices."

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