Pakistan calls upon UN for Kashmiri leader Asiya Andrabi's release

Foreign Office says "her life is in danger owing to imminent risk of persecutory conviction by a sham court"

Our Correspondent January 03, 2021
FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri. PHOTO: MOFA/FILE


Pakistan on Sunday called upon the United Nations (UN) to seek immediate release of Kashmiri human rights activist and political leader Asiya Andrabi, incarcerated in the infamous Tihar Jail in India.

As per a statement issued by the Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, Pakistan has approached the UN secretary general in New York and the UN high commissioner for human rights in Geneva to seek Andrabi's immediate release.

“It has been highlighted that Ms Andrabi’s life is in danger owing to imminent risk of persecutory conviction by a sham court on 18 January 2020,” the statement read.

The FO stated that as a champion of human rights and an ardent advocate of women empowerment, the Kashmiri leader has worked tirelessly for social reforms and realisation of fundamental freedoms for the people of the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) for over four decades.

She founded an organisation called the Dukhtaran-e-Millat (DeM), one of the biggest women rights organisations in IIOJK, working on women’s education, empowerment, well-being and protection - especially against sexual violence and abuse at the hands of Indian occupation forces.

The FO maintained that Andrabi has been under illegal and inhuman incarceration for over 15 years on fabricated charges under draconian laws aimed at further perpetuating India’s illegal occupation of IIOJK through brutalisation of the Kashmiri people.

"The Indian authorities have now put Andrabi on trial on trumped up charges, deliberately accelerated the trial, and set aside due process, reflecting malicious intent with clear indications of looming judicial murder," Chaudhri maintained in the statement.

"India’s blatant attempts to portray the legitimate Kashmiri struggle as “terrorism”, and to prosecute its leaders through concocted cases, is a clear violation of the UN Charter, UN Security Council and UN General Assembly resolutions, and international human rights and humanitarian law," the FO asserted.

“Pakistan has called upon the United Nations to urge India to drop all fabricated charges against Ms Andrabi, her husband and her associates, and provide them complete legal protections, including the right to a free and fair trial; release all detainees, especially political prisoners and human rights defenders in IIOJK; repeal draconian laws such as AFSPA, PSA, and UAPA; allow UN-supervised investigations into cases of extra-judicial executions and other serious and systematic human rights violations; and fully implement all recommendations of the two Kashmir reports of OHCHR, including the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry,” the statement read.

In a separate statement last week, the FO had expressed “deep concern” over the continued incarceration and deteriorating health conditions of the Kashmiri leaders, after Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said that the Indian occupation forces have been spreading fear among the unarmed and innocent people of IIOJK through continuous oppression and persecution.

Many senior Kashmiri leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, are also under house arrest, while other prominent leaders, such as Asiya Andrabi, Shabbir Ahmed Shah, Yasin Malik, Masarat Alam Bhat, Mohammad Ashraf Sehraie, are in New Delhi’s infamous Tihar jail and others.


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