The leaders of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) have slammed Pakistan for human rights violations in the region during the ongoing 35th session of Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Speaking during the ongoing 35th session of the Human Rights Council, United Kashmir People's National Party Foreign Affairs Secretary Jamil Maqsood expressed concerns over the deteriorating human rights situation in so-called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit- Baltistan.
"We are sadly concerned about deteriorating human rights situation in so-called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit- Baltistan. People of both regions living in regrettable situation since long," he said.
Maqsood alleged that the people of these regions do not have freedom to exercise their fundamental rights.
He said that exploitation of natural resources in both peripheries of Pakistan is at its highest level.
Maqsood added that both regions have systematically deprived from their natural resources including right to development by the exploration of these resources.
He held the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) responsible for the exploitation of regions natural resources and said that it has created drastic environmental effects in the region.
Maqsood further said that simultaneously this exploitation has jeopardized natural habitat of wild life and huge population.
He said that the CPEC project is clear violation of the international laws as well as United Nations resolutions on Jammu & Kashmir.
"In recent months, Pakistan has introduced draconian laws to press freedom of expression and freedom of thoughts to curtail its minorities and other ethnic groups under so-called security doctrine. Pakistan protection Ordinance (POPA) was termed by the ICJ as repressive and hastily drafted. That act was immediately come into effect in Pakistani peripheries and nationalists and progressive political workers have become its victim," Maqsood said.
He alleged that political leaders in Gilgit- Baltistan has been victimized under anti- terror laws and establishment of military courts as parallel judicial system has further demonized fundamental freedoms of the people in Pakistan and in PoK.
"The cyber crime act has inflicted damage to the civil society activists and human rights defenders. This act has barred human rights defenders to criticize undemocratic legislation of the state," he said.
Maqsood said that practically the state of Pakistan has become a hell for the progressive people, human rights defenders and journalists and in the absence of indigenous media, the world community is very blind about human rights violations in these regions.
He added the local culture and languages are at the verge of destruction by the oppressive regimes of Pakistan.
Maqsood urged the UN to take an urgent heed to these developments taking place in Pakistan so that the life of hundred thousand political workers, civil society and human rights defenders could be saved from Pakistan security apparatus.
Ecoching similar sentiments, United Kashmir People's National Party (UKPNP) leader Nasir Aziz Khan also drew Human Rights Council attention towards grave human rights violations in so-called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, which are part of the erstwhile princely State of Jammu and Kashmir and has been illegally held by Pakistan since 1947.
He said for the last 70 years, the Pakistan Government has not only neglected this area's development, it has systematically indulged in politically repressing the people.
"Though so called Azad Kashmir is supposed to be a self-governing state, it really has remained a colony of Islamabad, with Pakistan's central government taking all decisions," he said.
Nasir said exploitation of natural resources in Gilgit-Baltistan and so-called Azad Kashmir has deprived the natives of the region from their own natural wealth.
"Islamabad is constructing mega dams, China Pakistan Economic Corridor project which runs across our region before it enters Pakistan. Mega projects in a disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir are a clear violation of international laws and UNCIP resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir," he added.
He noted that on March 6 this year, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) had reported that in Gilgit-Baltistan hundreds of young political workers and rights activists are behind bars under Anti-Terrorist Act, which was enact in Pakistan primarily to eliminate dangerous terrorists, adding that any voice for rights in the region is suppressed by law enforcement agencies.
Nadsir further said that the security forces continue to act with impunity and are accused of widespread human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, torture, deaths in custody and extrajudicial executions targeting political activists, journalists, religious minorities and human rights defenders.
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