Geneva [Switzerland], September 22 (ANI): United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP) president, Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, urged the United Nations to take note of violations that have been taking place in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit Baltistan and ask Pakistan to uphold and guarantee all our fundamental human rights, encompassing civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, including the right to development.
At the 54th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Kashmiri said Pakistan has imposed an “alien culture” on PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan. He said it has deprived the locals in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan of their history, natural resources, traditions, customs, language and culture and termed Islamabad’s actions serious violations of various international laws.
Speaking at the General debate under agenda Item:3 Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development, he said, “I on behalf of our organisation request the United Nations to take note of these violations taking place in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan and ask Pakistan to uphold and guarantee all our fundamental human rights, encompassing civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, including the right to development.”
“Our organisation has been constantly advocating to draw the attention of this august council that the state parties under various international conventions and instruments are obliged to ensure Civil, Political, Economic Social and Cultural Right, including Right to Development under their administration and in peripheries which aren’t constitutional part of such countries,” Kashmiri said.
“However, the people of Pakistani Administered Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan have been completely marginalised. Islamabad has imposed an alien culture on both peripheries. Depriving locals of their history, natural resources, traditions, customs, language and culture through its institution’s and instrument of educational curriculum, are serious violations of various international laws,” he added.
He spoke about the massive protests that have taken place in PoK and Gilgit Baltistan. He said that Pakistani media did not report about the protests in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan where people have been demanding their ownership of natural resources, revival of their statehood and availability of subsidised food essentials.
“Recently the people of PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan staged massive protests in the length and breadth of both regions. But Pakistani media has totally blackout those massive people on roads demanded ownership of their natural resources, revival of their statehood, availability of subsidised food essentials, exceeding electricity bills and illegal taxes levied,” Shaukat Ali Kashmiri said.
Saying that people in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan are facing “colonial and discriminatory policies” under Pakistan’s administration, Kashmiri added that UKPNP has been demanding that Pakistan must end “all such draconian laws” that discriminate against the people of two regions based on ethnic and cultural identity.
“The state of Pakistan has ratified that covenant on 17th of April- 2008, its letter and spirit are missing to be implemented in various regions of Pakistan and particularly in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan. Right to development is fundamental to improving the living standards of the people and lifting them from poverty, to mitigate climate change effects at the grassroots level. But, the people in both regions under its administration are facing colonial and discriminatory policies imposed by Pakistan through such laws that are contrary to its commitment under international laws,” Kashmiri said.
Notably, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) has become the epicentre of discontent as enraged citizens are protesting against the exorbitant electricity bills they are receiving. The region is now abuzz with calls for a total boycott of bill payments, echoing the frustration of the local population.
Hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets of PoK, united in their condemnation of what they perceive as highly inflated electricity bills that are putting undue financial strain on their households. Their collective stand revolves around one resolute pledge: they will not pay these bills until their grievances are addressed.
According to the residents, this protest isn’t merely about the electricity bills; it’s about justice and the rightful ownership of the power they generate. They argued that their hydropower projects are the lifeblood of Pakistan’s electricity supply, and yet they are made to pay extra for it, which they vehemently decry as unjust. (ANI)
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