MUZAFFARABAD: AJK Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas on Thursday condemned Yasin Malik’s unilateral trial by a “kangaroo court” in India, two days after the incarcerated Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman was virtually coerced into pleading guilty in a fabricated and politically motivated case of terrorism filed by the notorious National Investigation Agency.

Mr Malik’s spouse Mushaal Hussain Mullick and hundreds of others who took to Twitter and other social media platforms said the JKLF chief was a freedom fighter and the struggle for freedom was not a crime. Many feared that the Indian government could eliminate him on fake charges.

In a statement, Rafiq Dar, chief spokesperson for the JKLF, said the denial of fair trial to Mr Malik was yet another clear manifestation of political vendetta against him at the behest of Narendra Modi-led Hindutva regime aimed at silencing the popular and the most powerful voice of people’s right for independence of the internationally-disputed state of Jammu Kashmir.

He said that ever since Mr Malik’s arrest on Feb 22, 2019, particularly after his transfer to New Delhi’s infamous Tihar Jail on May 10, 2019, the JKLF chief had decided not to contest these fabricated cases and had withdrawn his defence lawyer in protest after observing and anticipating the unfair and biased court proceedings and the ill-intentions of the Indian government.

Wife calls JKLF chief freedom fighter, says struggle for freedom not a crime

A hashtag about the incarcerated JKLF chairman remained in top trends in Pakistan on Twitter on Thursday. Under the hashtag #ReleaseYasinMalik, netizens not only dismissed and condemned the fake claim by the Indian media that he had pleaded guilty before the Indian court, but also drew attention to what they believed was a serious threat to the life of the JKLF chief and called for his immediate release.

“Yasin Malik is a political prisoner, a liberation [movement] leader who has been peacefully championing the Kashmiris’ just cause of freedom the way Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru fought against British rule,” the AJK premier said.

Calling for a befitting response to counter Indian media’s negative propaganda, he asked the pro-freedom social media activists to refrain from “copying and pasting” what Indian media had been propagating.

Former ambassador Abdul Basit tweeted: “Yasin Malik is an indisputable Kashmiri leader & in Tihar Jail, Delhi for years. [The] Modi Govt is preparing false grounds to hang him as was done in case of Maqbool Bhat & Afzal Guru. Kashmiris will not rest till given their right to self-determination as was promised to them by [the] UN.”

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2022

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