AJK President Masood welcomes UN report on Kashmir
Sardar Masood Khan, President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), has said that the follow-up report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the horrendous human rights situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir has been released despite Indian pressure to shelve, kill or stop it.
The report was issued on the third anniversary of the martyrdom of Burhan Muzaffar Wani. “This is symbolically important”, he said
The President said that the report, once again, substantiates widespread occurrences of serious human rights violations in IOK, notably excessive use of force by Indian occupation forces that led to civilian casualties, arbitrary detention, and impunity for human rights violations.
In the past year alone, 160 civilians were killed, which is the highest number in one decade. Real figures of casualties are much higher.
In the past three years, since the martyrdom of Burhan Wani, 1253 people mostly young men have been blinded and 11,000 have been seriously injured by the use of the 12-gauge pellet shotguns. In the same period, more than 1,000 people were killed and 28,000 were seriously injured.
“The report, however, just scratches the surface because the drafters’ direct access to IOK has been blocked by India. The real situation is much more gruesome in scale and in the nature of atrocities being committed”, the President said.
President Masood Khan endorsed the recommendations of the report to establish a Commission of Inquiry (COI) of the Human Rights Council to investigate human rights violations and crimes against humanity being committed in the IOK.
The black laws - the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the Public Safety Act (PSA) - should be repealed forthwith, as recommended by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the use of the lethal pellet guns should be banned, the President said.
The AJK President also welcomed and appreciated the United Nations High Commissioner’s demand that India should “fully respect the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir as protected under international law.”
The President paid tribute to the valiant people of Jammu and Kashmir who on July 8 observed a complete shutdown, responding to the call given by the Joint Resistance Leadership, to convey a clear message to the world about their strong resolve to continue their struggle for freedom from Indian occupation. “The young, educated leaders, who have inherited the mantle of freedom, have vowed that they would steer the movement to success”, he said.
The President regretted that the UN report has at places tried to artificially create a false sense of equivalence between IOK and Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.
AJK and G-B, he said, enjoy their fundamental freedoms, civil liberties and human rights, and would continue to enjoy them. Pakistan and AJK, he said, are committed to the full realisation of the right to self-determination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the UN Security Council resolutions and are ready to cooperate with the UN to achieve this goal.