August 2003 News

Pak has made the life of PoK people a hell: JKLF

6 August 2003
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Human rights violation in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) dominated the proceedings at the UN session on human rights in Geneva. Several Kashmiri separatist leaders accused the Pakistan Government of violating the basic human rights of the people in PoK’s Gilgit and Baltistan areas. JKLF leader criticised Islamabad for making 'hell' the life of the people of the northern areas. In his address at the 55th session of the United Nations sub-commission on the promotion and protection of human rights, JKLF diplomatic committee chairman Shabir Choudhury said, 'the life of two million people in northern areas has been made hell by Pakistan which is treating the region as an occupied land.' According to a copy of his speech made available here, he termed the areas as 'the last colony' after the British rule, 'Basic human rights are being denied and unfair treatment is meted out to the people...No opportunity is given to the people even to express their grievances,' Dr Choudhary alleged. Complimenting India, the JKLF leader said on the other side of the Line of Control 'despite dominant gun culture, political activities are allowed to all sections of the Kashmiri community.' Another senior separatist leader Shaukat Kashmiri raised objection to terming the PoK as 'Azad Kashmir' and said the puppet regime in the PoK was trying to mislead the world by claiming it as 'free'. The so- called 'Azad Kashmir' is 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, he said. 'Political activists standing up for the rights of the people are harassed and tortured as exemplified by the recent attempt on the life of Baltistan National Front leader Nawaz Khan Naji by a group of policemen who fired at him in Ghezer district,' the separatist leader said. The Pakistan Government is implementing 'well-conceived' plan to reduce into minority Kashmiris living in Gilgit-Baltistan areas in PoK by violating the State Subject rule, Mr Kashmiri added. This is a move by the Pakistan Government to reduce the Kashmiris into a minority by allowing people from outside to settle there, he said. Mr Kashmiri said 'prior to partition, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir in order to protect rights of his people, made a law that non-Kashmiris could not purchase land in the State.' 'After forced division of the State between Indian and Pakistan, authorities in Pakistan started violating this law and now it has reached such a stage that local people feel that they will soon become a minority in their homeland,' he added. Dr Choudhary added the area known as northern area of Pakistan is not a Pakistani territory. It is part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and its real name is Gilgit and Baltistan, he added. 'It is unfortunate that this vast area of Gilgit and Baltistan, which is more than 72,000 sq km with a population of around two million, is administratively cut off from PoK,' he said. The JKLF leader said people of this area were deprived of basic human rights and Pakistani authorities treated it as 'occupied land'. 'This unfortunate region, which still lives in dark ages, is split into five districts - Gilgit, Skardu, Diamir, Ghizer and Ghanche,' he added. Dr Choudhary further told the UN body that these areas had always been governed directly from Islamabad through an appointed Chief Secretary, who was law in his own right as he was armed with the frontier crimes regulation (FCR) laws. Another participant pointed out that there were no civil rights, no free press was allowed to function, there was no judiciary and no representation of the people living in this region. There have been some agitations and as many as 20 activists of the Baltistan national front have been jailed. (UNI)

 

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