Political activists from Pakistani held Kashmir held a massive protest outside the United Nations office here on Tuesday against the gross human rights violations committed by Pakistani state in the region.
The protest was organised by the United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP) during the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council.
They shouted anti-Pakistan slogans and demanded Islamabad to allow the people of PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) live freely and with dignity.
The activists have alleged that millions of people in Pakistani held Kashmir are still voiceless, deprived and marginalised as they have no equal rights under Pakistani rule.
They have raised demand for freedom from “Pakistani occupation” and demanded justice for those political activists and other intellectuals who are languishing in jails.
The protesters were holding banners saying – “Stop plundering natural resources in Gilgit Baltistan and PoK”, “Release all political prisoners from Gilgit Baltistan and POK”, “CPEC and mega projects in disputed areas of Gilgit Baltistan are unacceptable”.
Also, Sindhi and Baloch political activists joined the protest by the PoK activists.
Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, the chairman, United Kashmir People’s National Party, said, “We are requesting the UN to send a fact-finding team to assess the situation at Gilgit-Baltistan (GB). The Pakistan forces are committing atrocities against the civilians and are brutally taking their lives. They should stop the violence against civilians.”
Lamenting that Pakistan never supported Kashmir, Shaukat added, “Pakistan might support Delhi and Srinagar but the way they (Pakistan) have treated Kashmir is well known by all of us and as a result, we have organised this protest.”
Nasir Aziz, former spokesperson, United Kashmir People’s National Party stated that the so-called Azad Kashmir region does not have an indigenous media organisation to cover the area.
“We have no representation in the Pakistani forums and Pakistan Senate. The citizens are not allowed to be a part in such representations,” Aziz said.
“Thus, the only opportunity we have is the Indian diaspora Kashmiris where we could share our miseries with the international community,” he added.
Aziz further said activists were protesting in front of the UN building so that they could pay attention to the areas and the people residing in Pakistani held Kashmir, who have been neglected since 1947. This includes people who have infiltrated the borders of India and Pakistan.
Commenting on the enforced disappearances of people by Pakistan, Aziz explained, “People suddenly disappear and their loved ones are requesting them to be produced in front of the court in case if they have violated any state rule. But they are acting above the state rule. They are disappearing people in Neelam, Kotli and Poonch.”
The residents of Pakistani held Kashmir have been facing numerous issues as they allege they are treated as second-class citizens under the “Pakistani occupation” since 1947.
Pakistani held Kashmir, also known as ‘Azad Kashmir’, has a Prime Minister and a President, but is ruled by Islamabad. The Prime Minister of Pakistan is the chairman and chief executive of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council that manages all affairs related to the Pakistani held Kashmir.