Thu, 07 Dec 2023

Geneva [Switzerland], September 22 (ANI): A political activist from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir has informed the United Nations that extremist and radical groups in the region are often overlooked by security forces, even being facilitated into becoming political parties and register in the local election commission.

Muhammad Sarfraz Khan said that in doing so, they intend to manipulate elections, undermine free and fair elections, and pave the way for annexation into Pakistan.

Khan, who is a member of the United Kashmir People's National Party (UKPNP), said in his intervention during the 54th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, "The PoK Elections Act 2020 imposes loyalty to Pakistan as a prerequisite for political parties, effectively silencing those advocating for the unification and independence of Jammu Kashmir".

In Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, banned terrorist groups operating under various names have been allowed to roam freely, perpetuating instability.

He said that the freedom of expression, speech, movement, and assembly have been systematically curtailed for decades.

"In order to silence dissent, anti-terror laws are weaponized, resulting in book bans and the persecution of civil society, nationalist activists, and human rights advocates", Sarfraz told the UN.

Furthermore, the allocation of forestry land and tourist resorts in disputed areas to its military and citizens violates the Jammu Kashmir State Subject Rule of 1927, altering the region's demographics and harming the environment.

"Unequal access to quality education, limited healthcare access, lack of basic facilities infrastructures' shortage of electricity and water, corruption, growing extremism, lack of job opportunities, inflation, unemployment and political instability further compound the challenges faced by theseregions", said the activist as the people in PoK have been facing innumerable issues related to social, economic and religious.

He urged the UN to take note of these violations and call upon Pakistan to abolish all discriminatory laws and uphold its international human rights obligations and conventions. (ANI)

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