Kashmiri intellectual raises at UNHRC Islamabad’s repeated attempts to amend PoK’s status

28 September, 2022 | Pragati Singh

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A Kashmiri academic and human rights activist addressed the subject of Islamabad’s continuous attempts to rewrite the 1974 Interim Constitution to change the status of Pakistan-occupied Kashm...

A Kashmiri academic and human rights activist addressed the subject of Islamabad’s continuous attempts to rewrite the 1974 Interim Constitution to change the status of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

During the 51st session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Junaid Qureshi, a Kashmiri from Srinagar and the Director of the Brussels-based European Foundation for South Asian Studies (EFSAS), noted that large protests against the proposed 15th Amendment to the so-called Constitution were witnessed in parts of PoK last month.

“I would like to draw the Council’s attention to Pakistan’s repeated attempts to further change the already seriously dented status of Jammu and Kashmir through Islamabad’s periodic introduction of proposals to amend the farcical 1974 Interim Constitution of that part of Jammu and Kashmir that it illegally occupies,” he said in his intervention at the UN.

“This so-called Constitution, among other things, spells out the contours of the relationship between the Pakistani State and Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, and brings to mind images of subjugation and occupation. The people of Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir have been denied their basic fundamental rights and face severe brutalities by Pakistani security agencies on a daily basis,” Junaid Qureshi further stated.

Despite a harsh crackdown by Pakistani security agencies, a large protest was witnessed in the region last month against the proposed 15th Amendment to this so-called Constitution he said furthermore.

Junaid further told the UN that this Amendment represented the 24th Pakistani attempt to determine the constitutional status of the forcibly held part of Jammu and Kashmir.

“While the huge protests eventually resulted in the withdrawal of the proposed Amendment, Pakistan’s repeated attempts to alter the status of territory that it holds illegally, renders the prospects of a fair and respectable solution to the issue of Jammu & Kashmir extremely murky and complicated,” he said.

The human rights activist also urged the council to prevent Pakistan from carrying out any changes to the status of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

“It is therefore, imperative that this august Council uses all the tools at its disposal to prevent Pakistan from carrying out any changes to the status of Pakistan-occupied Jammu & Kashmir,” he said.

It should be emphasised that the Pakistani Army and Government are accused of seizing lands from locals and forcibly evicting the inhabitants in order to effect planned demographic shifts.