Break our chains and let us be free, pleads leader from Pak-occupied J&K

Prof Sajjad Raja

New Delhi (NVI) “We are living in hell. There are no human rights available to us. we are deprived of basic rights. We have no constitutional rights.” This is the desperate voice of a prominent leader of Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan (PoJKGB), while talking about the condition of people of the region.

Prof Sajjad Raja, Chairman of National Equality Party of Pakistan-occupied Jammu Kashmir Gilgit Baltistan (PoJKGB), says Pakistan is treating the people of the region as “animals”.

He makes an impassioned plea to the international community, including the UN, to “break our chains” and enable the people of PoJKGB to get freedom from Pakistan.

Raja said Pakistan is an “aggressor” and “illegal occupier” of PoJKGB and wants India to mobilise international opinion to make Islamabad vacate these annexed areas.

PoJK and Gilgit-Baltistan, which are parts of undivided Jammu and Kashmir, were annexed by Pakistan through military aggression on October 22, 1947. A resolution passed by the UNSC in 1948 mandates Pakistan to pull out its forces as well as citizens who transgressed into any part of undivided Jammu and Kashmir from October 22, 1947 onwards.

Raja slammed Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi for his recent statement at the UN General Assembly that Kashmir is a “longstanding dispute” and that “people of Kashmir are waiting for a settlement”.

Asserting that Pakistan has “no right to talk about Kashmir”, the leader from PoJK, who lives in exile in London, said in an interview that if there is any issue, it is between people of Kashmir and government India.

“Our point of view is Pakistan is not a party to the dispute. It is none of Pakistan’s business,” Raja said.

He added that in the digital age and information technology era, Pakistan can’t befool anyone anymore. “Everybody knows the facts, the history. UN resolution clearly asks Pakistan to vacate, pull out its forces even its citizens from PoJK and Gilgit-Baltistan,” he underlined.

Raja also exposed Pakistan at the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva recently by highlighting the oppression being carried out against the people of PoJK and Gilgit-Baltistan.

“Pakistan has taken (away) our freedom. Pakistan indulges in brute use of tyranny (on people of PoJK and Gilgit-Baltistan), suppressing our voice. But we hope our voice shall be heard here. We beg of the peace-loving world to stop what is happening to us, break our chains (which are) keeping us from standing happy,” he said in a choked voice.

“We, the people of Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, plead with this august assembly to stop Pakistan from treating us as animals. Our activities, opposing Pakistani occupation, are declared as anti-state and flagrant violations of UNSC resolutions. We are treated as traitors in our own homes,” Raja said at the UNHRC session.

“By declaring our political activities illegal, Pakistani Army gets free hand to assassinate our people through targeted killings and enforced disappearances,” he said.

He also spoke about how Pakistani establishment is using PoJK for terrorism against India.

“Pakistan is brainwashing youth of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the border, making them cannon fodder in their proxy war with India. Pakistan continues to run terror camps in so-called ‘Azad Kashmir’ (PoJK),” he told the world body.

In the interview, the leader from PoJK expressed unhappiness with India, saying it has “left us alone” and “left us at the hands of Pakistan”.

He said Pakistan has been exposed on Kashmir and not even the Islamic countries or bodies like OIC listen to it now.

He said Pakistan has only one friend, that is China, and that too for mutual convenience.

“China has own interests. Pakistan has own interests. If China leaves Pakistan, it will not survive even,” he said.

Talking about China’s growing indulgence in PoJK and Gilgit-Baltistan, Raja said it was like Pakistan sub-letting the region.

“Pakistan is unable to control the people of PoJK now. People of PoJK have come to the conclusion that they have no future with Pakistan. Pakistan can’t control people of PoJK and that is why it is seeking help from China. China has own global interests. It is using Pakistan for its interests,” he said.