Pakistan urges India to lift draconian laws in held Kashmir

ISLAMABAD - Pak Yesterday urged India to lift draconian laws in held Kashmir as coronavirus deaths were reported in the disputed territory. A foreign ministry statement said Pakistan was “deeply concerned over continued restrictions in the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, despite so many confirmed cases and two deaths due to COVID-19.” It added: “Thousands of Kashmiri youth, members of civil society, journalists and Kashmiri leaders remain incarcerated in Indian prisons, many of them at undisclosed locations and away from their families. The Indian forces continue to operate in the occupied territory with complete impunity under draconian laws such as Public Safety Act and Armed Forces Special Power Act.”

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It said the senior Hurriyat leadership is under detention at homes or in different prisons. Hurriyat leaders Yasin Malik, Asia Andrabi and others are languishing in Indian jails under fake charges without a free or fair trial. Yasin Malik, already suffering from deteriorating health, has threatened an indefinite hunger strike to protest against a false charge sheet by the Indian government in a 30-year old case. The foreign ministry said: “Since the Indian illegal actions of 5 August 2019, all educational institutions in IoJ&K have almost remained closed. The students are unable to continue virtual education due to continued restrictions on 4G Internet services. While the world is fighting the worst global health emergency, over 900,000 Indian military and para-military occupation troops continue adding to the suffering of innocent Kashmiris” It said the international community, cognizant of the worst human rights violations and the atrocities being perpetrated by India in held Kashmir, must urgently demand from India the lifting of communication restrictions and allowing unfettered access to medical and other essential supplies.

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“The Indian government must also be urged to immediately allow release of all political prisoners from Indian jails, end incarceration of Kashmiri leaders including the senior All Parties Hurriyat Conference leadership, restore full Internet facility in the entire occupied region, remove PSA and other draconian laws, and withdraw occupation forces from the occupied Kashmir,” the statement said. The dire human rights and humanitarian situation in held Kashmir, exacerbated by India’s illegal and unilateral actions since 5 August 2019, has been amply exposed by the international human rights organizations and international media, the statement added. The Indian government cannot continue to suppress the legitimate aspirations of the people of occupied Kashmir without facing international opprobrium and censure, it said.

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According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have been killed in Kashmir since 1989.  Since partition in 1947, Pakistan and India the have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir. Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for unification with Pakistan. For its part, the statement said, “Pakistan will continue supporting its Kashmiri brethren in their rightful struggle against Indian oppression till the realization of their inalienable right to self-determination as enshrined in the United Nations Security Council Resolutions.”