ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Sunday called for India to lift restrictions in occupied Kashmir and to release Kashmiri prisoners as the number of coronavirus cases in the disputed territory continue to increase.
In a statement, the Foreign Office (FO) said that Pakistan is deeply concerned over continued restrictions in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) despite so many confirmed cases and two deaths.
“Thousands of Kashmiri youngsters, 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 (PSA) and Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA),” the statement read.
“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, who is 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,” it added.
“Since Indian illegal actions of August 5, 2019, all educational institutions in IOK have been 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,” the statement added.
The FO also said that the international community, which is cognisant of the worst human rights violations and the atrocities being perpetrated by India in IOK, must urgently demand from India the lifting of communication restrictions and allowing unfettered access to medical and other essential supplies. “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 (APHC) leadership, restore full Internet facility in the entire occupied region, remove PSA and other draconian laws, and withdraw occupation forces from the IOK,” the FO added
“The dire human rights and humanitarian situation in IOK, exacerbated by India’s illegal and unilateral actions since August 5, 2019, has been amply exposed by the international human rights organisations and international media. The Indian government cannot continue to suppress the legitimate aspirations of the people of IOK without facing international opprobrium and censure,” the statement read.
“For its part, Pakistan will continue supporting its Kashmiri brethren in their rightful struggle against Indian oppression till the realisation of their inalienable right to self-determination as enshrined in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions,” the FO concluded.