September 2000 News

Pakistan''s Kashmir Policy Vague: Asma Jehangir

9 September 2000
The Hindu

Islamabad: The human rights activist, Ms. Asma Jehangir, has said that Pakistan has no definite policy on Kashmir and several Kashmiri separatist leaders oppose the merger of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan as a permanent settlement. ''I have not been able to comprehend what is Pakistan''s policy on Kashmir, whether Pakistan wants to make it part of the country or let it remain independent. If so, what will be the position of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and the northern areas,'' she said in an interview to Pakistan''s newspaper, Daily Jung. Ms. Jehangir said public opinion in Pakistan did not favour separation of ''Azad Kashmir'' (PoK). She lamented that people there had been denied the right to vote. The Supreme Court had no jurisdiction over the area. Ms. Jehangir, who is a special rapporteur to the United Nations, said extremist groups in Kashmir were also responsible for human rights violations in the Valley. They never talked about rights of minorities and women but focussed on independence. Referring to allegations about her being a ''western agent,'' Ms. Jehangir said anyone who opposed religious bigotry in Pakistan had been dubbed as a foreign agent. She challenged the ''maulvis'' to disclose their source of funds. While funds of the NGOs were subject to audit, religious institutions had never been candid in disclosing their sources of income.

 

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