PoK Leaders Slam Pak 'occupation'
2 August 2003
The Indian Express
New Delhi: Violation of human rights in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and northern areas has dominated a UN session on human rights in Geneva with leaders from JKLF and other separatist groups criticising Islamabad for making the life of the people in that region a hell. In his address at the 55th session being held in Geneva, chairman of JKLF diplomatic committee, Shabir Choudhry said the life of two million people in northern areas was hell and Pakistan treated the region as an 'occupied land', according to a copy of his address made available in Delhi. Terming the area as the 'last colony' after the British rule, he spoke of denial of basic 'human rights and unfair treatment to the people' and said 'no opportunity is given to the people even to express their grievances.' Flaying Islamabad for forcibly occupying the land, the JKLF leader said, 'Pakistan government had no legal right to control the region and deny people of Gilgit and Baltistan their basic human rights.' In a compliment to New Delhi, Choudhury said that on the other side of Line of Control 'despite dominant gun culture, political activities are allowed to all sections of Kashmiri community'. Another senior separatist leader Shaukat Kashmiri raised objection to terming PoK as 'Azad Kashmir' and said the puppet regime in the PoK was trying to mislead the world by claiming it as 'free' so that they could hide the gross human rights violations in the area. The separatist leader said the so-called azad Kashmir was being ruled by despots nominated by Pakistan while the occupied northern areas were without any Constitutional status and the people were even denied self-rule. 'Political activists standing up for the rights of the people are harassed and tortured,' he said and exemplified a recent attempt on the life of Balawaristan National Front leader Nawaz Khan Naji, who was fired upon by people in uniform. Shaukat, who was speaking on behalf of European Union of public relations, said the socio- economic indicators of PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan in terms of health, education, gender equality, communications remain 'shockingly low' while on the other hand, religious schools preaching communal hatred and training camps for terrorists continue to mushroom with the blessings of Pakistani rulers. He urged the UN sub-commission to recommend the setting up of a special mechanism to examine the dismal human rights situation in Pakistan and the parts of Jammu and Kashmir forcibly occupied by it. He said the special mechanism could also suggest concrete methods of redressing the grievances of the victims of human rights violations by the theo-fascist ruling classes of Pakistan.