Rawalpindi [Pakistan]: Political and human rights activists from Pakistan, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit Baltistan have expressed grave concern about the worsening human rights situation in the country and occupied regions.
Speakers at the conference organized by Jammu Kashmir Awami Workers Party at Rawalpindi on the eve of International Day of Human Rights gave horrific examples of growing human rights violations in Pakistan.
Participants at the conference included human rights activists, representatives of civil society, political workers, social activists, lawyers, women activists, representatives of civil society organizations, and journalists.
Jammu Kashmir Awami Workers Party chairperson Nisar Shah Advocate said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government has failed miserably to stop the violations of human rights situation in the country and areas under its control in PoK and Gilgit Baltistan.
"The people of PoK lack economic, political, social rights and freedom of expression. They are under threat of a growing influence of religious fanatics and an emergence of Afghanistan-like situation," ANI quoted him as saying.
Shah added that religious extremist organizations are regrouping in PoK and some parts of Gilgit Baltistan.
Nisar Shah said that the state policy to use the extremist groups as its strategic assets is playing havoc with peoples' lives. Many people of PoK and Gilgit Baltistan have already sacrificed their young generation in the name of "jihad" and extremism which in fact was a proxy war, not a freedom struggle.
He said that if the state does not change its soft approach towards the religious extremist originations, then it will fuel more extremism in the region. The innocent people will have to face the consequence of this, he warned.
The recent incident of lynching of a Sri Lankan citizen in Sialkot and other such incidents were example of extremist organisations running riot. These types of incidents cannot be stopped if the state does not change its policy.
He said that while the extremist groups are provided protection and opportunities to continue their activities, the state continues to attack peaceful progressive, democratic, rights-based political, human rights activists and journalists who face torture, charges of sedition and terrorism, life imprisonment and enforced disappearance.
Nisar Shah said the constitutional status of PoK and Gilgit Baltistan is still of colonial nature, where people have no rights or control on their own resources.
Dr Basheer of HRCP said that the Covid-19 pandemic has hit hard in all parts of the societies, badly affecting people including medically, socially, politically, and economically.
"People's poverty, inequalities and discrimination based on religion/belief/gander or any others exclusion and environmental degradation are making society more vulnerable due to the pandemic and incompetence government policies," he said.
The conference demanded the dismissal of Defence Minister Pervaiz Khatak on his statement for justifying the inhuman murder of Priyantha Kumara at Sialkot.
They said that if the government is serious about resolving the issue of extremism, the state must make a policy against the patronization of extremist organizations.
The conference also expressed grief and anger over the recent heinous crime of rape and murder of the 13-year teen girl at Dadyal in PoK. They demanded strict action against the culprits.
The conference condemned the arrest of Awami Workers Party president Yousaf Masti Khan at Gwadar recently. They said Khan has done nothing more than demanding of the state to give Gwadar residents civil, political and economic rights to which they are entitled. To charge Khan under archaic and repressive colonial laws is undemocratic and unjustified. The conference demanded that must be released immediately and unconditionally.