On behalf of
I take this opportunity to express my gratitude being invited to speak on behalf of millions of marginalized people of so called Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan who are living under the shadow of fear, threats because of gender, race, region, religion, social and political, beliefs, and identities that they either have inherited or subscribed to as an informed citizen of the globe. The growing globalization is contributing to weaken barriers imposed by the states in the name of national security and sovereignty but many states are tightening the straps under these self-serving notions to continue to keep people deprived and economically marginalized.
The rights of the people are closely linked with good governance and good governance is not possible without ensuring social justice. Social justice can only be available when state acts as an impartial and neutral actor but if state itself is partial and encourages any particular school of thought or religion irrespective of how that religion philosophy is egalitarian, violations and discrimination are bound to take place.
As a result of this practice we can see how economic and political deprivation, violations and discriminations are common among such states that are promoting and protecting any particular religion at the cost of rights. Living in the information age that dramatically shrank the geographical distances and shared all kinds of threats, challenges and benefits whether emanating from Asia, Africa, Europe or American continents, suggesting that nations and global citizens should be more responsive and pro-people to contain the threats of terrorism, extremism, nuclear proliferation, spread of HIV, bird flu, flood, food and energy crisis that are looming over heads and posing serious challenges to the marginalized people around the world.
Being a native of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and in a broader perspective the South Asian region where internal and intra-state conflicts continue to undermine the region’s very potential to emerge as a prosperous economic region, we see the failures of political leadership to overcome these internal and external disputes by putting human development on the top and making regional peace, prosperity and security their priority. South Asian region is abounding with human and economic potential which requires attention of the regional and global leaders to encourage the plural political culture that embraces peace, development and prosperity.
In Pakistan and its peripheries, establishment secret agencies, armed forces have badly and ruthlessly repressed the democratic process and denied people their rights.
Pakistan is a state where despite democratic elections, the new government has failed to establish its writ, and political crises are deepening day by day. Because establishment is not in favour of peace process in the region, though that is the desire of Nawaz Sharif Government which wants to have friendly and peaceful relations with neighbouring countries like Afghanistan and India.
Pakistan administered Kashmir people after nine years of earth-quake remain shelter less, without education and health services. Social and economic discriminations have not allowed the region to develop any credible institution that could have provided the basis for good governance and rule of Law. Government has encouraged the nepotism and favouritism where merit has been completely disregarded.
Political discrimination is practiced in the form of constitutional restraints that bars the political opponents by demanding allegiance with Islamabad by signing the imposed condition of states’ accession with Pakistan. This is not only against the very essence of right to participation in government formation but also against the Pakistan’s rhetoric of right to self-determination of Kashmiris, which Pakistan itself denies to Kashmiri people. Unchallenged control of Islamabad from politics to the economy has widely abused the system and eroded our political identity by forcibly imposing two nation theory in the school and colleges syllabus. In this part there is no recognition of local art, culture, language and customs which are completely alien to our new generation. Many people are disappeared from the District Kotli and other parts of so-called Azad Kashmir by agencies. The whereabouts of the disappeared are yet unknown.
Another region which is known as Gilgit Baltistan presents a very dismal picture of the rights situation after passing 67 years under Pakistan’s control. The unfortunate people of this region failed to draw the attention of UN human rights council despite repeated appeals and interventions from different NGOs to press the Islamabad government to grant them their basic rights.
As Islamabad rules this Area through its bureaucrats and intelligences agencies. Hundreds of people are facing sedition charges. Islamabad engineers sectarian riots to divide the people politically. Majority Shia population is forced to study the Wahhabi syllabus in the schools. Demographic change is being encouraged by settling the non-locals. I thank you Mr.Chairman. For your kind attention: