Pakistan condemns arrest of Kashmiri human rights activist

Published November 24, 2021
In this file photo, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad addresses a press conference in Islamabad. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan/File
In this file photo, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmad addresses a press conference in Islamabad. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday strongly condemned the arrest of human rights activist Khuram Parvez in India-held Jammu and Kashmir.

Arbitrary arrests of human rights activists on orchestrated charges by Indian occupation forces is clear evidence of New Delhi’s state-terrorism and trampling of fundamental human rights in the occupied valley, Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar said in a statement issued here.

The spokesperson said that the reprehensible unwarranted searches by Indian National Investigation Agency at the offices and residence of Khuram Parvez, had also been condemned by international human rights activists and organisations.

The world is aware that it has become increasingly difficult for human rights organisations and activists to continue their work in India and held Kashmir due to incessant witch hunt by the Hindutva driven RSS-BJP combine over unfounded and motivated allegations, he added.

Amnesty International had to shut all its operations in India in September 2020 when its bank accounts were frozen by India in an act of reprisal because of their independent reporting on held Kashmir, the spokesperson mentioned.

He said the UN human rights machinery, independent NGOs and global media had regularly reported on and expressed concerns over increasing intimidation, harassment and reprisal attacks by Indian occupation forces against Kashmiri human rights defenders, journalists and civil society actors since August 5, 2019.

The spokesperson urged the international community to hold India accountable for continued clamp down against human rights organisations and activists for undertaking their duty to expose gross and systematic human rights violations of Kashmiris occupied valley, and the minorities, especially Muslims, in India.—APP

Reuters adds: Rights groups, including the United Nations, have criticised the arrest of Khuram Parvez.

Mary Lawlor, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, called Parvez’s arrest “disturbing”.

“He’s not a terrorist, he’s a human rights defender,” she said in a tweet.

Mr Parvez, one of Kashmir’s best known activists, is head of Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, a group of rights organisations working in the region.

He was arrested and detained on similar charges in 2016, after being prevented from boarding a flight to attend a UN human rights forum in Geneva. He was eventually released without being convicted of any crime.

Published in Dawn, November 24th, 2021

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