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Activists hold protest against Pak brutalities in New York


Human rights activists on Tuesday organised a massive protest against the Pakistan Army in front of the United Nations General Assembly here on Friday (local time).
"Our demand is to end the human rights violations by the Pakistani military immediately. They should release the people who are still locked up in torture cells. But we are accused of terrorism if we raise our voices against them. There's a dictatorship in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province by the Pakistani military establishment," said Gulalai Ismail, a rights activist who was forced to flee Pakistan after being accused of treason.
She added, "Innocent Pashtuns were killed in Pakistan in the name of eradicating terrorism. Thousands of people are jailed in internment centres and torture cells of the Pakistani Army."
Ismail is herself a victim of Islamabad's brutal military crackdown on its minorities. The activist had travelled to Sri Lanka with a group of her friends last month and then fled to Brooklyn in New York where she is currently residing with her sister. Following her crusade against the atrocities committed on country's women, she was slapped with treason charges. She has also applied for political asylum in the US. Lawyers said that there was little chance that the United States would send her back to Pakistan.
Ever since she was 16, Ismail has been speaking out about human rights abuses, focusing on the plight of Pakistani women and girls who suffer all kinds of horrors including forced marriages and honour killings.
Even though she has been able to escape to America, she is still worried about her parents and people who helped her during the days of hiding.
"Pakistan used all of its machinery to suppress my voice and hurt me. Cases were registered against my mother on the charges of terrorism to harass her, just because she is my mother," she alleged further.
Meanwhile, Baloch activists also said, "Until Pakistan has its foot in our territory, Balochistan will never be at peace."
Prior to Friday's protests in New York, Nabi Bakhsh Baloch from US-based Baloch National Movement had also highlighted the poor plight of minorities in Pakistan before the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva a few weeks ago.
"Imran Khan has himself acknowledged the fact that they have supported the Jihad and the Taliban. Now, we only want them to free our land. We want our freedom to be restored," he said.
The Pakistan Prime Minister, who earlier today made his maiden appearance at the UN General Assembly, spoke for over half an hour, well over the allotted time-limit, where he touched upon issues like money laundering, climate change and Islamophobia, apart from raking up the Kashmir issue.
The cricketer-turned-politician used the global platform to continue his anti-India rhetoric, terming the RSS and BJP as "fascist" and "Hindu supremacist". He warned of what he called "bloodbath" in Jammu and Kashmir ever since India abrogated Article 370 that granted special status in the region.
"Pakistan has been violating the UNSC Resolutions 47 that provided Pakistan 90 days time to step out of Gilgit-Baltistan. Pakistan has been ranting on Kashmir since a long time. But all of it is fake," said Senge H Sering, a Director at the Institute of Gigit Baltistan Studies in Washington.

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First Published: Sep 28 2019 | 2:42 AM IST

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