Pakistan-controlled Kashmir facing human rights crisis

Baltistan,Aug 29 : The Gilgit-Baltistan territory of the Pakistan-controlled Kashmir has been witnessing a covert crackdown by authorities.

The legal identity and constitutional status of the region, which is a part of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, have been under dispute.

The occupation, which occurred without the people’s consent for over 70 years now, lacks a proper constitutional status, or a working legal system.

This territory has faced several human rights violations over the years due to the lack of proper legal rights or a democratic set-up.

Over a hundred human rights activists have been charged with sedition. Scores of social workers, students, and political activists have been languishing in jails there.

Residents of Gilgit-Baltistan have been demanding from Islamabad of rights similar to those currently enjoyed by the Pakistani citizens something that Islamabad has been putting off.

According to a 2018 Human Rights Watch Report on Pakistan, there has been a climate of fear to the media by both government security forces and militant groups.

Reports have said that journalists practiced self-censorship in 2018 following attacks and threats from militant groups.

Evidence has shown that the Pakistani authorities have put the media under pressure asking them to avoid reporting on criticism of government institutions or the judiciary.

According to reports, there are several cases of the government regulatory agencies blocking the cable operators from broadcasting networks airing critical programs.

The United Nations (UN) has said that the continued occupation of Gilgit-Baltistan by Pakistan is in violation of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) resolution of 28 April 1949.

It says that all Pakistani military forces should vacate to ensure that a plebiscite could be held. The plebiscite couldn’t be held as the Pakistani side denied to accept the part about removing Pakistani forces.

Moreover, Pakistan has not granted full constitutional status to the region. Therefore, Gilgit-Baltistan is neither a state nor a province. Even the residents of this region do not have a right to vote in the national elections. (Agencies)

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