India asks Pakistan to end ‘illegal occupation’ of PoK, dismantle terror zones

India on Monday said that Pakistan should dismantle its ‘special terrorist zones’ and end its ‘illegal and forcible’ occupation of PoK, as the third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Pakistan was presented before the Human Rights Council (HRC).

The UPR is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN member states. It is a state-driven process, under the auspices of the UNHRC, which provides the opportunity for each state to declare what actions have been taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfill their human rights obligations.

The UPR was created through the UN General Assembly on March 15, 2006, by resolution 60/251, which established the UNHRC itself.

This is the third UPR of Pakistan, being undertaken in the course of the 28th Session of the UPR Working Group.

India, in its recommendation, said the Pakistan government should “provide freedom to the people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) by ending its illegal and forcible occupation.”

It also recommended that Pakistan take action on terror financing.

At the same time, First Secretary in the Mission Sumit Seth urged Pakistan to stop the targeting of political dissidents and illegitimate criticism in Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, stop torture, enforced disappearance and unlawful killings, including that of journalists and activists by its security agencies.

India further said that Pakistan should end harassment of minorities, and place procedural and institutional safeguards to stop misuse of the blasphemy law, and end forceful conversions and marriages of minorities, including Hindus, Sikh and Christian women.

India also said that Pakistan should stop persecution of Muslim minorities such as Shias, Ahmadiyas, Ismailia and Hazaras.

Meanwhile, the United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP) held a series of demonstrations and conventions against the kidnapping of political activists from the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

People held banners that said: “Stop abductions and enforced disappearances in so-called Azad Kashmir,” and carried out a rally in Rawalpindi. They shouted slogans for freedom from Pakistan and also asked China to leave their occupied territory.

A convention was also held at the Rawalpindi Press Club, wherein the speakers raised several issues concerning the people of PoK.

In addition to this, a protest rally was organised in Muzaffarabad city of the PoK.

People chanted anti-Pakistan slogans and demanded an end to forcible occupation of the PoK and Gilgit Baltistan. They also called for an immediate withdrawal of Pakistani forces from their territory as per the United Nations Security Council resolution.

The residents of the PoK have been facing numerous issues as they allege they are treated as second-class citizens under the Pakistani occupation since 1947.

In recent days, several incidents have been reported where the Pakistani security forces kidnapped and tortured the political activists, especially the youth, who raised a voice against the Pakistani occupation and exploitation of their natural resources.

Earlier on November 5, government employees, working on contract basis in the PoK, staged a protest in Muzaffarabad demanding clearance of their monthly emoluments. It had been several months that these employees did not receive their salaries.

Blaming Islamabad for its discriminatory policies against them, the protesters, who were working in health, education and other government sectors in PoK, demanded regular jobs.

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