Community Forums General Discussion Human rights violations in PoK

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    Amit Bhutani
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    Armed Conflicts

    A recent report by a Human Rights Watch team on the situation prevailing in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir or Azad Kashmir could come as an ‘eye-opener’ for many Kashmiri leaders in India.

    “The report has literally exposed Pakistan policy on its side of Kashmir, explaining what Pakistani agencies and bureaucracy are doing there, claimed Dr. Shabir Choudhry of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). iving credit to the team that “went to Pakistani Administered Kashmir and completed their research under different pressures”, Dr. Choudhry said, “Facts cannot remain hidden forever. The report stated the same thing what Kashmiri nationalists have been saying for many years and especially after the deadly earthquake last year”.

    Recently, a European Union draft report on Pakistan Administered Kashmir slammed Islamabad for failing to establish democracy in their part of Kashmir.

    Pakistan has consistently failed to fulfil its obligations to introduce meaningful and representative democratic structures in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). There is a continuing absence of Kashmiri representation in the Pakistani National Assembly, the EU report stated.

    On the same lines, Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch said, “Although ‘azad’ means ‘free,’ the residents of Azad Kashmir are anything but, and the Pakistani authorities govern Azad Kashmir with strict controls on basic freedoms.”Many leaders of the valley, who had earlier campaigned for equal human rights in the Pakistani said of Kashmir, now feel that their stand has been vindicated.

    “This proves that research of Kashmiri nationalists, their analyses and contacts on the ground were correct; and moreover people of the area clearly feel that Pakistani control here is illegal and against the wishes of the people,” Dr Choudhry said.

    Apart from this, many PoK leaders are also realising that they were misled by the Pakistani administration and are now offering apologies to the ‘nationalist’ leaders, whom they had earlier branded as Indian government’s prot‚g‚s.

    In a letter sent to Shabbir Choudhry, Syed Razahk, a PoK leader wrote: “Pakistan has converted the region into a militia base for militants like Taliban Afghanistan. I pity the people now who were completely brainwashed to think a nation as their enemy. Whose activities are closely monitored, suppressed individual opinion, I don’t know which idiot called it Azad Kashmir, its POK. If it’s Azad Kashmir then why should everyone read the declaration of accession to Pakistan?”

    Choudhry is of the opinion that the recent shift of focus towards the human right situation in PoK is reason for this tectonic shift in the opinion.

    Earlier world attention was focused on human rights violations on the Indian side only; plight of the people on the Pakistani side was overlooked. Pakistani authorities encouraged Kashmiri leaders and political activists to focus their attention on the Indian side only; and because of this majority of Kashmiris were reluctant to raise their voice against rights abuse on the Pakistani side of the divide, Choudhry said. (ANI)

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