Posted on Jul 12, 2019
The United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP), held a protest during the recent 41st session of the Human Rights Council in front of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) office in Geneva on 8th July-2019. The protest was attended by the Party stalwarts, members of the international civil society organisations, political leaders and human rights defenders.
The protesters shouted "down with terrorism", "down with extremism, "the state Is ours and your occupation is unacceptable". "Revive our fundamental human rights, revive State Subject Rule in Gilgit-Baltistan", and "release all the political prisoners in Pakistan and its held parts of Jammu Kashmir & Gilgit-Baltistan".
The protest was organised by Jamil Maqsood, Central Secretary Foreign Affairs of the UKPNP (pictured left).
In his opening speech he strongly criticised the role of Pakistan towards its peripheries, ie. the so called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, referring to the politically motivated imprisonment to political and social activist Baba Jan and his colleagues, and "deepening and worsening" of the harassment and intimidation of political workers and civil society in Pakistan and its peripheries under the current "selected" Government.
Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, exiled chairman of the UKPNP, welcomed all the participants to the protest and invited them to "show your solidarity with our demands".
We have been telling the world community that our state has been forcibly divided by Pakistan. Our resources have been plundered and by diverting our rivers Pakistan has deprived hundred thousands of people of their basic water needs. They have deforested our region and devastated our environment... Our crime is that we didn’t accept their hegemony and asked Pakistan to rstore our rights and develop our region. Stop the proxy war and proxy militancy through your non state actors. They have killed thousands of people in Jammu Kashmir. Pakistan is asking us to accept Hafiz Saeed and Masood Azhar as our leaders but even they don’t recognise themselves as leaders... Pakistan is not serious about curbing these proscribed terrorists.. Whatever eye-washed steps they have taken so far are simply delaying tactics.
He stated that the International body on curbing terror financing FATF, has created more pressure on Pakistan.
"Pakistan isn’t serious and using all those actors as their assets. The UNHRC has accepted the facts that Pakistan is using its systematic tools to press freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and also involuntary disappearances. It has taken serious note of our interventions at the council and recommendations through memorandums. We are grateful to this august council for their timely cognisance. Now it is up to the member states and non governmental organisations to highlight this report."
Speaking at the event, Central Spokesperson of the UKPNP, Mr. Nasir Aziz Khan, vehemently condemned the exploitative methods of successive governments of Pakistan towards so called Azad Kashmir & Gilgit-Baltistan.
He appreciated the United Nations Human Rights report released on the same day and highlighted constitutional discrimination and repression of the press and media and absence of freedom of expression and belief.
He drew particular attention to the plundering of the natural resources of the Illegally held territories of Jammu Kashmir by Pakistan since 1947.
He also expressed his determination that the party is working tirelessly under the leadership of Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri to educate the world community about the repressive methods of the secret agencies of Pakistan to suppress democratic voices in the region.
I lament the disturbing fact that those who are demanding their fundamental human rights have been sent for trial under anti- terror laws by the Pakistani authorities. The politically motivated imprisonment of Baba Jan, Iftikhar Hussain and his colleagues are amongst the worst of many examples.
Addressing the protestors, Sardar Amjad Yousaf, President of the United Kashmir People’s National Party- Europe Zone, criticised the role of Pakistan.
"We said that we have gathered here to expose the cruelty and oppression of Pakistan inflicted on our people. We are against all injustices in Pakistani Occupied Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. We are facing economical terrorism. I’m thankful to all the organisations who have joined us today Including Baloch Voice Association our European friends and civil society activists. I’m also grateful to our Party’s Swiss comrades for holding this protest during this United Nations regular session."
We condemn the silencing of peaceful and democratic political activists. We are telling those who persecute us 'you cannot and will not silence us in 21st century'... We are demanding our rights peacefully and In the most democratic manner. Forced disappearances in Sindh, Balochistan, KPK and so called Azad Kashmir are not acceptable. We shall take our case to the highest international forums.
Also addressing the protest, Mr. Mahmood Kashmiri, chairman of Jammu Kashmir National Independence Alliance, an amalgam of nationalist political parties working in the United Kingdom expressed his deepest concern on the construction of dams in so called Azad Kashmir and the colonisation of the water resources.
"Pakistan is systematically silencing peaceful voices of it’s administered parts of Jammu Kashmir & Gilgit-Baltistan. We have gathered here to herald world community that Jammu Kashmir is not a territorial issue It is a political issue. And the people of Jammu Kashmir are striving for their freedom. I’m thankful to the UKPNP for holding this protest and for inviting us to participate outside the United Nations and inside the UNHRC as well to raise the issue peacefully and diplomatically", he said.
President of the Baloch Voice Association, Mr. Munir Baloch congratulated the UKPNP for holding this protest. "We have gathered here to share and highlight our plight and concerns. We want to remind the United Nations body about their commitment to the safety of all humanity. This august body has so far failed to protect the lives of the people."
Mr. Paul Brothwood in his speech expressed his solidarity with the peaceful struggle of the UKPNP. "The people of Pakistani administered Jammu Kashmir have been kept in a systematic deprivation by Pakistan. The Pakistani administered area of Azad Kashmir is an empirical example of where such abuse can be witnessed."
Mr Abdul Rahman President of the Bangladesh Awami League in Geneva, was saddened to note that "... the Pakistan army didn’t learn anything from its cruel policies In Bangladesh in 1971. We reject their policies of killing innocent people and demand the the world community brings them to justice. I express my solidarity and support to all the oppressed nations in Pakistan in Pakistani occupied Kashmir."
Mr. Ali Kassar an international human rights defender expressed his support to the peaceful struggle of the UKPNP, saying that "it Is time for the world community to use its influence to counter terrorism which is spreading to the entire world from Pakistan."
Mr. Sajid Hussain, Secretary Information of the UKPNP - Europe Zone thanked all the party members and human rights defenders for attending the protest and for expressing their solidarity with the people of Pakistani administered Jammu Kashmir & Gilgit-Baltistan. "Pakistan should restore our rights and leave our state. We are committed to the cause of a united state of Jammu Kashmir" he said.
The following Resolutions were unanimously approved by the protestors:
- We demand Unconditionally and immediately the release of Baba Jan and his colleagues in Gilgit-Baltistan.
- We demand that the victimisation of political workers in so called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit- Baltistan cease.
- We demand that State Subject Rule must be revived in Gilgit-Baltistan.
- We are asking Pakistan to stop diversion of Neelam & Jhelum rivers in Muzaffarabad.
- We are demanding removal of the lent officers from Pakistani peripheries.
- We are demanding that the Pakistan army should stop land grabbing in Pakistan Administered Jammu Kashmir & in Gilgit-Baltistan.
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