Wed, 21 Oct 2020

Geneva [Switzerland], September 28 (ANI): Exiled political leaders from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) have raised the issue of abduction, torture, and harassment of activists and journalists by Pakistani agencies at the illegally occupied region during the ongoing 45th Session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, the chairman of the United Kashmir People's National Party during his intervention raised the issue of British Kashmiri Journalist Tanveer Ahmed, who was arrested and tortured by Pakistani agencies for protesting against hoisting the Pakistani flag in PoK.

"At the behest of Pakistan, the local administration brutally beaten, arrested and jailed him. In Gilgit Baltistan peaceful political activists Baba Jan Iftikhar Hussain and their colleagues were trailed under Anti-Terrorist Act and were awarded 40 to 90 years imprisonment. We urge upon UNHRC to put pressure on Islamabad for the immediate and unconditional release of all activists", said Shaukat Ali Kashmiri.

He added, "The authorities intensified their crackdown on the right to freedom of expression. Political activists and journalists are targeted and charged under draconian laws, including the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA), the Anti-Terrorism Act, and sections of the penal code on sedition and defamation. The government curtailed media freedoms and media workers reported that they were experiencing a growing culture of censorship, coercion and harassment by the authorities".

Sajid Hussain, Secretary Information, UKPNP (Europe Zone) said in his intervention at the UNHRC, "Freedom of expression is compromised in Pakistan and PoK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir). Raising voice for basic human and fundamental rights, demanding for ownership of natural resources and self-governance, criticism on wrongdoings of establishment and subservient judiciary become almost blasphemous".

He also raised the issue of Tanveer Ahmed saying that the Pakistani security agencies have brutally beaten, arrested and jailed British Kashmiri Journalist Tanveer Ahmed after he removed the Pakistani flag in Dadyal in a disputed area in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir. We urge HRC to ask Pakistan for his immediate release.

He added, "Peaceful Human rights activist Jamil Maqsood who is based in Brussels, Belgium has been regularly participating in HRC sessions and raising human rights issues. Due to his active role, Pakistan has confiscated his passport now he is unable to travel and access to the UN. Freedom of movement is a fundamental right we urge upon HRC to put pressure on Pakistan to issue him passport".

Sajid told the UN, "The voices of the Kashmiri people to free themselves from Pakistani rule has resulted in the state taking repressive action. This has resulted in regular instances of human rights abuses including forced disappearances, torture to political repression and electoral rigging and suppression of freedom of speech".

"Pakistan should take effective measures to control activities of those who promote extremism, violence and intolerance in the region", said the human rights activist by demanding Pakistan to take immediate action against security forces, those groups and agencies who kidnap citizens of Pakistan and PoK; and make arrangements for the immediate release of all those who have involuntarily disappeared. (ANI)

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