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Kashmiri activist wants UN to punish Pakistan for human rights violations in PoK

Protests had erupted in Pakistan occupied Kashmir over rigging of polls, last year

A Kashmiri political and social activist has urged the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to punish Pakistan for killing innocent people in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit Baltistan.

In a letter written to UNHRC President Nazhat Shameem Khan, Farooq Ahmed Dar – a former PDP leader popularly known as Farooq 'Ganderbali' who is also the head of a NGO named 'Voice for Peace and Justice' – said that the UN should ask Pakistan for the immediate withdrawal of forces from PoK which is a part of India and has been forcibly occupied by it since 1947.

He told Khan that Pakistan-sponsored terrorism and extremism is the main cause of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir and UNHRC must ask Pakistan immediately to stop sending terrorists, weapons, and fueling anti-India propaganda through social media.

"We demand that a high-powered fact-finding mission be sent to PoK and also to Gilgit and Balochistan, , particularly the Khuzdar district, to probe the presence of mass graves. UNHRC should tell Pakistan to stop sending terrorists to J&K for its interests in the name of so-called jihad," Ganderbali wrote in his letter.

He told UNHRC that the 'Gilgit Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order-2009' of Pakistan government is a move to illegally grab the region and things have turned worse since China took control through the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.  

"People of Gilgit and Baltistan have been denied all basic rights and are ruled with an iron fist by Islamabad. The situation in Gilgit and Baltistan is so bad that some conscientious Pakistanis call it a colony of Pakistan. The region has been deprived of all fundamental human rights. Pakistan has made enormous economic and political gains from these areas since 1947. With the help of China, they have started many mega projects in the area, which benefit both," the letter said.

It further described in detail the plight of people in Pakistan-occupied territory where terror camps have also been established, much against the wishes of the locals.

"There are no legal institutions, no medical facilities and no professional colleges in Gilgit Baltistan. The revenue generated from tourism and other assets in the area is not utilized for the development of the area or the welfare of the residents. Pakistan is an illegal occupier of the region, exploiting its mineral and hydraulic wealth, denying the people basic human and fundamental rights."

The letter also highlighted the plight of minorities as religious discrimination has created a "serious issue for the human rights situation" in modern-day Pakistan.

"Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Shias and Ahmadis among other religious minorities often face discrimination and subjected to violence. As Islamist fundamentalists rule the country, the Pakistan government has remained mostly a silent spectator, taking no real concrete action against them. The Saylani Welfare Trust, carrying out the relief work during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, has said that the aid is reserved for Muslims alone."  
Ganderbali said that through his Voice for Peace and Justice – a platform of vibrant youth of Jammu and Kashmir – he demands an immediate intervention of the United Nations which should intervene and save the people of PoK instead of turning a blind eye to Pakistan's atrocities.