GENEVA, Switzerland - An organization of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit, seeking freedom of these areas from Pakistan, on Sunday urged the UN and world human rights bodies to intervene to end victimisation of locals by Pakistani forces.
The United Kashmir People's National Party (UKPNP) issued the appeal while referring to the assault by Pakistani forces and it's "stooges" on a peaceful rally organised on Saturday to commemorate 'National day of State of Jammu and Kashmir' at Rawalakot in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
On March 16, UKPNP had organised a peaceful rally at Rawalakot in Poonch to commemorate foundation and National Day of the erstwhile princely state. On this day in 1846, the state of Jammu and Kashmir was formed. The rally was halted and people were threatened and harassed by the police. Peaceful protesters were also threatened to stop waving the historical flag of the former princely state.
"This is a clear violation of freedom of association, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression and speech," said a press statement issued by leaders of the UKPNP.
The leaders, including exiled UKPNP Chairman Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, Secretary General Sardar Ishtiaq Hussain, Senior Vice Chair Sardar Aftab Khan, Vice Chair Raja Bashir Khan, Central Spokesperson Nasir Aziz Khan, President Foreign Affairs Committee Dr Shabir Chaudhry, secretary Foreign Affairs Committee Jamil Maqsood, Sardar Amjad Yousaf President Europe Zone, secretary Europe Zone Asif Abbas, Usman Kiyani President UK , Sajid Hussain, party leaders in North America Sardar Rasheed Yousaf, Zahid Hussain Khan, Mohammad Riaz Khan, said such acts show the real face and duplicity of Pakistan.
"On the one hand, Pakistan claims that she is champion of the right to self-determination of Kashmiri people, on the other hand, she doesn't allow peaceful rallies and gatherings of those Kashmiris who are living under its administration," the statement said.
"This is an open secret that since 1947 Pakistan has been systematically exploiting religious sentiments of Kashmiris and trying to snatch history, culture and identify of people of Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan has been promoting religious hatred, intolerance and extremism and terrorism to communalise our society, to divide our motherland on the basis of religion," the leaders asserted.
UKPNP leaders also urged the United Nations, the International community and human rights organisations to intervene and ask Pakistan to stop the "victimisation of nationalist leaders" and respect all human rights including article 19 and 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Article 19 states that everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers and Article 20 (1) states that everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
"UKPNP is the real voice of voiceless and deprived and marginalised people of so-called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan," the leaders said while reiterating that the peaceful struggle will continue for "complete independence" and "end of illegal occupation of Pakistan." (ANI)