Geneva [Switzerland], July 6 (ANI): The United People's National Party (UKPNP) on Wednesday in an international conference at Geneva called upon the UN and other global institutional authorities to put pressure on Pakistan to repeal all draconian laws imposed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and allow all nationalist political parties, groups and individuals to participate in the forthcoming July elections.
UKPNP in a press release also asked Pakistan to release all political and human rights detainees and demanded the immediate and unconditional release of human rights defender Mazoor Hussain Parvana.
"We rights activists denounce the recent targetted killing of Kashmiri Canadain Dr Ghulam Abbas, who was assassinated on 21 June 2021 at Kotli District PoK and demand that culprits must be arrested and brought to justice," said the release.
During the United Nations Human Rights Council's 47th Session at Geneva, there was focus on human rights violations, freedom of expression, speech, press and association in Pakistan and PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan.
Heads and main representatives of different international NGOs, party office bearers, leading academics, leaders of different nationalist and regional political parties, human rights defenders, civil society activists, intellectuals, journalists, media persons, Kashmiris, delegations of Baloch, Pashtun, and Bangladesh nationalist parties, heads of different human rights organization having special status with UN participated in the conference.
Strict restrictions on expression, association victimisation and witch hunt of nationalist leaders and political opponents, growing terror phenomenon in the region, the plundering of natural resources, social unrest, unemployment, inflation and extremism, the radicalisation of youth, and other issues were discussed.
UKPNP exiled chairman Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri addressed the conference and said that PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan were part of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, which has been illegally held by Pakistan since 1947.
"For the last 74 years, the Government has not only neglected this area's development, but it has also systematically indulged in politically repressing the people. Though PoK is supposed to be a self-governing state, it really has remained a colony of Islamabad, with Pakistan's central government taking all decisions," said the release.
Over the last 74 years, apart from a total lack of development and basic political rights, the people of PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan have suffered from human rights abuses, largely carried out by the army and other security agencies with impunity.
The voices of the Kashmiri people to free themselves from Pakistani rule have resulted in the state taking repressive action. This has resulted in regular instances of human rights abuses including forced disappearances, torture to political repression and electoral rigging, and suppression of freedom of speech, said the release.
According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the country's intelligence agencies carry out extensive surveillance operations on the press and pro-independence groups, they have carried out arbitrary arrests in which people have been tortured and several have gone missing.
Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri said "we are opposing Pakistan's policy to use religion as a weapon and terrorism as a foreign policy tool and our region as a launching pad and training camps to press the secular, democratic, and progressive voices of the entire region."
"We demand that Pakistan must change its policy and she should take serious action against terrorists' organizations and groups and dismantle terrorist infrastructure from PoK and from different areas of Pakistan," said Shaukat Ali Kashmiri.
Kashmiri strongly condemned the enforced disappearance of Manzoor Hussain Parwana from Gilgit-Baltistan. He asked the government of Pakistan to take steps for the immediate and unconditional release of the leading human rights leader.
He also denounced the targeted killing of human rights activist Dr Ghulam Abbas. "This is a heinous crime, culprits must be arrested and brought to justice," said Kashmiri.
UKPNP Central spokesperson Sardar Nasir Aziz Khan Moderator of the conference expressed that security forces, radical and banned terrorist groups are acting with impunity. Pakistan has given free hand and facilitated and helped these groups to register as political parties in Kashmir to take part in elections.
"The main purpose is to install handpicked people to merge our areas into Pakistan without any obstacle. Islamabad a self pro-claimed advocate and champion of the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people has imposed new restrictions on Kashmiri nationalist groups and parties," said Nasir Aziz Khan.
He further stated that as per the Elections Act 2020 for PoK, it was made mandatory for all political parties to declare loyalty to Pakistan. Any person or the political party that pledges to work for unification and independence of the state of Jammu Kashmir are not allowed to form a political party or take part in the elections.
The participants reiterated that the forcible partition of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the 21st century is unacceptable. Kashmiris should have their basic human and fundamental rights like in other parts of the world, Kashmiris should have the right to decide their own future, said the release. (ANI)