Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Saturday that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has directed ministries to raise the violation of Kashmiri leader Mohammed Yasin Malik's human rights after his conviction by an Indian court in a terror financing case — which she described as unfair.
Malik, who leads the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, had been charged with 'terrorist acts', illegally raising funds, being a member of a 'terrorist' organisation and criminal conspiracy and sedition — the charges carrying a maximum sentence of the death penalty or life imprisonment.
The Indian court has set May 25 as the date for Malik's sentencing.
The human rights and law ministries "will soon — today — devise a complete plan of action, which would [cover] legal and diplomatic bases, as well as those of the violations of human rights conventions and agreements, and present their recommendations to the prime minister and we will formally announce them," Aurangzeb said in a press briefing in Islamabad alongside Malik's wife, Mushaal and 10-year-old daughter Razia Sultana.
"They have been directed to take steps to prevent Malik's sentencing," Aurangzeb said.
She hailed Yasin as a leader who had dedicated his life to the struggle for freedom of India-occupied Kashmir.
Referring to the charges against Malik, she said India had framed "fake cases of terrorism against him", adding that "sudden court proceedings" against him were contrary to justice and human rights.
She added that the world acknowledged that Malik had been running a peaceful movement and that no allegations had ever been levelled against him at any international forum that would "include him in any negative activity".
Aurangzeb said a video of Malik, who is kept in Delhi's Tihar jail, had been made public by the prison in which he can be seen saying only one thing: "'I want to speak'".
"The way human rights and judicial procedures have been killed — fake cases were filed against him (Malik) and he was immediately indicted and date for his sentence was set," the minister said, adding that "the basic issue is that India has violated human rights [conventions, protocols and laws] of which it is a signatory".
"Such fascism," she said. "And if you are not afraid, if India is not afraid, why is it afraid of letting one man speak? Why is it afraid of allowing a free [and fair] trial? Why is it afraid of giving fundamental rights?"
She added that it was the responsibility of the international community to raise the open violation of human rights that Malik was being subjected to.
"Everything is being written in history ... and the international community — all of us — will have to be answerable."
The minister again questioned that if India's case was genuine, why was it "scared" of letting Malik speak and suppressing his voice.
Marriyum said Mushaal had approached her regarding Yasin's case and it was "heart-wrenching" that she had not met her husband since September 2014. "At that time ... her daughter was two years old and today she is 10 years old."
"Religious card for religious divide'
Today, Aurangzeb said, there is a "complete blackout in [India-occupied] Kashmir, and that Malik was facing a media trial in India.
"Films are being played in cinemas to establish Yasin's involvement in terrorism plot — there are attempts to create a religious divide regarding Kashmiri pundits," she added. A "religious card" is being used to create a "religious divide" in occupied Kashmir, she said, adding that it was a botched attempt that would never succeed.
The people of occupied Kashmir, she said, would never be "enslaved" by such "fascism, thuggery and Indian barbarism", the minister said, adding that "this is why India is afraid of letting one person speak."
"Everyone knows that they are part of a peaceful movement" and "their resolve is bolstered after every act of cruelty."
She further alleged that India did not want "peaceful freedom" in occupied Kashmir.
But these attempts, this fascism, would not hurt the morale of the Kashmiris, she said. "Their morale will be boosted," she said, adding that Pakistan would continue to stand with the Kashmiris. "Kashmir is Pakistan's jugular vein and we are not ready to move even an inch from this [stance]."
She also lambasted the Modi government for stripping occupied Kashmir of its special autonomous status, calling the move a "violation" and "unacceptable".
The Kashmir issue, she said, would be resolved in line with the United Nations (UN) resolution and as per the will of the Kashmiri people.
Marriyum also paid tribute to other Kashmiri leaders.
Mushaal demands measures Yasin's release
For her part, Mushaal described the harrowing conditions Malik was being subjected to in the Indian jail.
She called on the world, Pakistan government and the UN for an independent investigation of Malik's case, declare him a prisoner of conscience, and get him immediately released on health grounds. She said steps were also needed to get him declared a "protected personality as he is a political prisoner. He is the voice of the people."
Pakistan's parliament should immediately pass a resolution for Malik's release and get him hospitalised.
Mushaal also appealed to the Pakistan government to take make measures to get her access to her husband and run a global campaign on the matter. She also called for a mass campaign at the national level, with people coming out on the streets to raise the issue.
She urged the government to assign "emergency tasks" to Pakistan embassies across the world as India intended to sentence him on May 25.
Mushaal further called for taking Malik's case to the International Court of Justice and demanding a commission of inquiry from the UN.