ISI unleashing terror on Kashmiri refugees in PoK
30 June 2002
The Daily Excelsior
New Delhi: Pakistanís Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) has unleashed a reign of terror on the refugees and displaced Kashmiris living in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and other parts of the country. The council of advocates international has urged the international human rights groups to intervene and extend assistance to the ''most unfortunate'' Kashmiri refugees in PoK. In its latest report on the violations of human rights in PoK, the Toronto-based organisation has said that the displaced Kashmiris have been suffering from the brutal suppression of the Pakistani security forces, terrorism of fundamentalist militant outfits, constant torture of police and ''unspeakable horrors'' in the hands of the ISI. The council said it had received complaints of massive human rights violations from the refugees, who have been displaced due to cross-border shelling between the troops of India and Pakistan, terrorism and violence. Most of them said that they were misguided and some said they had been forced by the fundamentalist outfits to leave their homes and cross the border, it said. Once they crossed the border to PoK, they became hostages in the hands of the ISI and the fundamentalist militant outfits. They were forced to live in camps with their women and children in horrific and unspeakable conditions. The council said these camps were built as showcases for international delegations and fact- finding missions to highlight the alleged Indian atrocities. The fundamentalist militants used these camps for recruitment, shelter for foreign mercenaries, safe-houses and arm storage. Refugees from these camps are forced to transport arms across the border and most of the times get killed by the Indian security forces, it added. In a press communiqui, the Council of Advocates International said it had formed a committee to investigate and prepare a report following complaints of torture and gross human rights violations by the Kashmiri refugees. Expressing deep concern over the situation, council secretary general Hamid Bashani said, ''the Governments of India and Pakistan are constitutionally obligated to ensure the safety and security of the people and protect their rights. Their failure to resolve the issue has catastrophic impact and with the passage of time may worsen the situation.'' Giving details the report said on February 7 this year, Mushtaq Ali and Naseer Khawaja were contacted by a group of Muzaffarabad-based militant leaders. The two were asked to transport arms across the border. But when they refused, the two were threatened with dire consequences. The next day they were arrested by the ISI and held incommunicado in a house for ten days. They were brutally tortured and humiliated. After their release the local police started harassing them and threatened to charge them with theft, arms trading and other criminal acts. They were forced to leave Muzaffarabad and are now hiding in Pakistan, the council said. Two elderly refugee men and a woman testify that two of their young relatives, Javeed Abu, 23, and Sameer Sheikh, 19, were contacted by the militants and the ISI and asked to transport arms across the border. After two weeks the relatives received the news that the two were killed by the Indian security forces in an encounter while crossing the border, the report said. Two Kashmiri women refugees told the council that the local police and other intelligence agencies personnel were called for investigation. They were sexually assaulted and repeatedly raped. No case had been registered against the officials and the women were threatened to be charged with criminal offences, the report said. Mansoor Butt, a 31- year-old displaced Kashmiri, said he was arrested by the ISI and accused of spying for the Indian intelligence agencies. He was beaten up following his refusal to accompany a group of militants as a guide to cross over to the Indian side. Muhammad Deen, a 51-year-old refugee, while trying to cross over to the Indian side along with his wife and their 16-year-old son was shot dead by the Pakistani army without any warning or chance to return, the council said in its return.