MUZAFFARABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) President Sardar Masood Khan has welcomed a United Nations (UN) report, calling communication blockades imposed by New Delhi in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K) as a tool to curb expression and other fundamental rights of the people there but maintained that more concrete steps were needed.
“The report of the UN Special Rapporteur David Kaye on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and the expression says internet shutdown and other curbs severely restricted expression and other fundamental rights, especially since the outbreak of coronavirus,” Masood said.
Commenting on the report on Saturday, he said it clearly reveals that media and internet service blockade by India in the held territory has badly affected the right of freedom of expression of the Kashmiri people, and now the outbreak of the Covid-19 has further deteriorated the situation.
Masood, while quoting the report, said the curbs imposed by the Indian government in IOJ&K after August 2019, were merely an excuse for collective punishment against the whole Kashmiri nation.
"Doctors, nurses and other medical staff, due to the limited internet access, after the outbreak of coronavirus, are facing serious difficulties in seeking health-related basic information," he added.
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The AJK president said that the unlawful actions taken by India in the occupied valley now stand exposed, and the report prepared by the United Nations reflects the real situation.
This report titled "Disease pandemics and the freedom of opinion and expression" will now be presented in the Human Rights Council.
However, the AJK president maintained that the United Nations should not rely on mere preparing a report on the serious situation in IOJ&K but it will have to take concrete steps to seek termination of the lockdown and curfew enforced for the last nine months, prevention of repression by the Indian Army, and to get the siege of Occupied Kashmir lifted.
Expressing concern over declaring all areas of old Srinagar city as the red zone by New Delhi, Masood said that the Indian government under the garb of coronavirus, is imposing further restrictions on the whole of Srinagar city in order to target leaders and activists of the Kashmir resistance movement.
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He also expressed grave concern over not shifting the summer capital of Occupied Kashmir from Jammu to Srinagar this year, saying the motive behind the action of the Indian government is aimed at nothing except creating hurdles in the way of a vast population of Kashmir valley in addressing daily managerial affairs and issues.
In a separate message, the AJK president stressed British MPs and leaders of Pakistani and Kashmiri communities raising voice in favour of the freedom and the right of self-determination of the Kashmiri people, to apprised the UK government, parliament and media about the ongoing massacre and ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri people, attempts of the Indian government to change the demography of the state and the recent amendments in the domicile laws.
Sardar Masood Khan said that through an amendment in domicile law, India wants to settle a very large number of Indian Hindus in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir in order to turn the Muslim majority into a minority.