Political activists from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) held a protest against Pakistan alleging the nation of conducting oppression of indigenous people, exploitation of natural resources and sponsoring terrorism in the region, as per an ANI report.
It was the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, where the protesters were seen holding banners like “Release all political prisoners from Gilgit-Baltistan” and “CPEC and mega projects in disputed areas of Gilgit-Baltistan are unacceptable” challenging Islamabad.
Nasir Aziz Khan, spokesperson of United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP) was quoted by ANI, “Since the last 73 years, we have been deprived of our basic fundamental human rights. That is why we have no say at any platform in Pakistan. We do not have any representation in Pakistani institutions, for example, Pakistan National Assembly or Senate or anywhere, we cannot raise our voice. Those who dare to raise their voices are victims of the state.”
He added, “Pakistan is marginalizing our people, there is a witch-hunting of the political opponents. If you see Gilgit-Baltistan, people like Baba Jan, Iftikar Hussain, and their colleagues were tried under anti-terrorism laws and they are facing 40 to 90 years of life imprisonment. This is the irony of society. We are facing cross-border terrorism sponsored by the state and there are extremist groups roaming freely in our region. They are recruiting youngsters in that region. We can say that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Taliban spokesperson Ehsaan Ullah Ehsaan who was in custody of the army managed to escape.”
The protestors strongly condemned cross-border terrorism as it has severely affected the peace and harmony in the region.
He further added, “Same is the case for Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar, who was also in custody. Now they say that he has escaped with his family. This is the clear message for the people that the state is still protecting them, sponsoring them and sending them to different areas.”
Junaid Qureshi, a Kashmiri from Srinagar who is heading the European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS) said, “PoK belongs to Jammu and Kashmir. It is a part of Jammu and Kashmir and people have been facing huge difficulties. If you look at Pakistan and the people there, the Baloch have been facing difficulties. The Pashtuns have been facing it and we are under illegal occupation. Pakistan- occupied Kashmir is illegally held by Pakistan. So, you can imagine the kind of attitude they have towards their own citizens. That is slavery and that is the colonization of us.”
He added, “At the same time, they are trying to sell part of our state, which is Gilgit-Baltistan to the Chinese. So, this cross-border terrorism which Pakistan is perpetrating – there is no fault of people of PoK in that. This is happening because they have put lent officers, who run the state of affairs there. This cross-border terrorism is imposed on them to function as a launchpad in the valley, create disturbance and kill people. This is the agenda of Pakistan to keep that part boiling while they keep their colonial masters in power in PoK.”
Earlier this month Activist from POK Senge Sering accused Pakistan at UNHRC saying, “Pakistan is an occupier, Pakistan wants to prolong the occupation. It is in Gilgit Baltistan of an illegal basis and the only way it can prolong the occupation and abuse of resources is by spreading lies and myths about Jammu and Kashmir and confusing the international community and confusing the local people.”