ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday denounced the Indian government’s decision to declare several political parties of India-held Kashmir as “unlawful associations”, Dawn.com reports.

In a statement, the Foreign Office said: “Pakistan denounces the Indian authorities’ decision to declare the Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Freedom League (JKPFL) and four factions of Jammu and Kashmir Peoples League (JKPL) as ‘unlawful associations’.”

It also denounced the decision to “extend the ban on Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) (Yasin Malik faction) for five more years”.

The Indian home ministry had last week declared the JKLF as an “unlawful association” and designated the JKPFL as a banned group for five years “for abetting secession”, according to Times of India.

Islamabad says ‘oppressive tactics’ contravene international human rights, humanitarian law

According to the report, the ministry also declared four factions of the JKPL — of Mukhtar Ahmed Waza, Bashir Ahmad Tota, Ghulam Mohammad Khan and Aziz Sheikh led by Yaqoob Sheikh — as “unlawful associations” for alleged involvement in inciting terror in the region.

According to The Hindu, the decision came hours before the dates for elections to the Lok Sabha, the Indian parliament’s lower house, were announced. The move was made under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

In its statement, the FO noted that with the fresh notifications, a total of 14 political parties “have become outlawed in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK)”. “The affiliates of these parties are also facing persecution,” it added.

The statement recalled that a death penalty had been sought for Yasin Malik, the JKLF chief who was given a life sentence in 2022.

“However, such oppressive tactics cannot suppress the Kashmiri people’s aspirations for [the] realisation of their inalienable right to self-determination, as enshrined in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” the FO asserted.

“India’s ongoing campaign to crush dissent in IIOJK contravenes the international human rights and humanitarian law as well as democratic norms,” it added.

The FO urged the Indian government to lift the curbs on the banned parties, release all political prisoners, including Yasin Malik, and implement the UNSC resolutions on occupied Kashmir.

Earlier this year, the FO had condemned India’s decision to declare the Tehreek-i-Hurriyat Jammu and Kashmir as an “unlawful association” for five years.

Days before that, India had also banned the Muslim League Jammu Kashmir (Masarat Alam faction), declaring it an “unlawful association” as well.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2024

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