Pakistan’s war crimes continue unabated in POK

The arrest of senior journalists Tanveer Ahmed and Safeer Kashmiri for taking down the Pakistani flag at Dadyal, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK) is not the first nor the last. These tactics of the occupying state of have been going on for seven decades and as long as the occupiers are determined to continue their occupation, the freedom fighters will continue with their struggle.

Our freedom struggle will continue despite occupier Pakistan’s policy to arrest, torture, kill and kidnap the Kashmiris. The worst situation during a nation’s slavery arises when its people silently endure the slavery and let the occupiers plunder their nation’s resources. When voice against looting and occupation begins to be raised, the occupier suppresses that voice with all its might. A ruthless and murderous state like Pakistan, is doing the same in areas of Jammu and Kashmir that are under its occupation.

The looting of Kashmir’s resources by Pakistan continues unabated, but the arrest of Tanveer Ahmed and Safeer Kashmiri is a step further in this state repression and terrorism. In addition, Pakistan continues the brutal killings of young students who are keen to study and dream for the freedom of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK) and Gilgit-Baltistan. Several political prisoners have been sentenced to 70 years in prison and brutal state violence continues against peaceful protesters. The people are beginning to know the real intentions of the occupying state of Pakistan. They now understand that whenever the struggle for freedom is organized, the oppression of the occupying state of Pakistan intensifies.

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Arif Shahid, president of the Liberation Front National Liberation Conference, was shot dead in the neck by occupying forces in Rawalpindi using silencer weapons. Sarfraz Ahmed was shot dead by Pakistani Rangers at Clifton Chowk, Karachi. The officers were arrested after the video went viral, but on August 14, the President of Pakistan ordered the release of the officers, although the case was still in court. Similarly, Moaz Ali’s body was found in Lahore by Ashiq Hussain.

Dozens of students on their way to Islamabad for their education were either found dead or publicly murdered. Last year Hamza Imtiaz was killed by the son of an army general. These incidents clearly point to the fact that the intentions of Pakistan is to stop the students of Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan from getting acquainted with the glorious history of the state. If the students of POK and Gilgit-Baltistan know the history of Kashmir then the protests against Pakistani’s illegal occupation will multiply manifold.

The occupying Pakistani forces forcibly abducted some youth in Neelam and Khowai Ratta areas adjacent to the ceasefire line, but left them in an unknown location due to public protests. These incidents expose the ruthless state’s intentions. If a national liberation movement starts in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir then a series of enforced disappearances will also start here like it happens in occupied Balochistan.

In the areas near ceasefire line, women are also subjected to sexual harassment but the media does not approach it. Such incidents do not come in the limelight due to the fact that the people in these areas are forced to live under military pressure. Last year, a young girl was raped by soldiers at Holar Kotli. The brave young girl raised her voice against the rape. The military post was then removed from Holar as a result of mass protests.

Over the past five years, there has been a sharp rise in violence in POK against the people and political organizations that have raised their voice against slavery and for basic people’s democratic rights through peaceful political struggle. This only suggests that grip of occupier’s nation on POK. As the movement becomes more organized and strong, the repression of the occupying state will intensify.

A horrific demonstration of state violence was staged in Muzaffarabad-Rawalkot-Mirpur against students who raised their voice for student rights. Students were beaten, tortured and charged with tear gas shells. In addition to the baton charge, bullets were also fired at the JKLF’s peaceful march in Rawalpindi, seriously injuring dozens of peaceful protesters and martyring the long-time JKLF activist Naeem Butt.

In October 2019, thousands of people had gathered in Muzaffarabad on the call of People’s National Alliance (PNA). The peaceful march from the university to the assembly was stopped, protesters were charged with batons and clashes between the protesters and security agencies continued throughout the day. Bullets and shells rained down, seriously injuring dozens of people and martyring one civilian. Three dozen workers were arrested and subjected to inhumane torture. Around 80% of the occupying Pakistan Army soldiers came in police uniforms and inflicted inhuman torture on the peaceful protesters. In the darkness of the night, when the PNA leadership was holding a press conference, the Pakistan military commandos carried out a murderous attack. The brave journalists stood firm and became the shield of the leadership, otherwise the entire leadership present there would have been killed that day.

The occupying forces of Pakistan have laid siege to every city in the ten districts of Pakistan occupied Kashmir from all sides. At the beginning and end of each city, there are military brigades and checkpoints, which indicate heavy occupation aimed at any city. All these military forces are to suppress the voice of common people against the occupier Pakistan.

In addition, the agency is still in power in Gilgit-Baltistan. Violence against those seeking rights is commonplace. Iftikhar Karbala Baba Jan and a dozen of his associates were arrested in the name of the struggle for civil rights and false and baseless cases were lodged against them. Baba Jan has been sentenced for seventy years. He is being denied access to medical treatment and hospital.

Other liberal leaders and activists are completely banned from political activity under black laws such as Schedule IV and cannot leave their district without the permission of the DC.

Pakistan’s brutal state has no qualms about crimes such as massacres, enforced disappearances, dumping of mutilated corpses, but there is no such protest movement within the state that raises its voice and all dissenting voices are easily suppressed. If the occupier’s occupation is hurt, the occupier will increase the intensity of repression and violence, and this occupier Pakistan is so filthy, cruel and painless that it does not bring any international law to mind. In the past Pakistan has committed atrocities in Bangladesh and is now committing atrocities in Balochistan and Waziristan, so we have clear examples of this, from which we need to learn. The people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir have to learn from the Baloch movement and organize themselves, because from the assassination of Arif Shahid the state terrorism of Pakistan has continued to grow. This will only increase with the passage of time and the common people of POK need to raise their voice against Pakistan.

Junaid Kamal
Junaid Kamal
Writer is a Researcher and Political Activist based in POK (Pakistan-occupied Kashmir)

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