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40 killed, 110 injured, 33 houses damaged in Indian-occupied Kashmir

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Islamabad - In its unrelenting act of continuous state-sponsored terrorism by Indian regime, Indian forces killed 40 persons in Indian-occupied Kashmir in November 2020, according to data compiled by Legal Forum for Kashmir (LFOVK), an international advocacy group for Kashmir.

Four persons were killed in fake encounters in the Nagrota area of Jammu division of the occupied territory.

More than 110 persons were injured due to the use of brute force by Indian police and paramilitary personnel in the disputed territory.

During night raids, over 60 persons were ruthlessly beaten and tortured by the fascist Indian-occupying army.

Amid chilling winter, Indian forces damaged 33 houses, snatching the livelihood of the oppressed people.

It is pertinent to mention that all-Muslim bloc Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) adopted a resolution on disputed Jammu and Kashmir at the 47th OIC-Council of Foreign Ministers summit held in Niger in the last week of November.

The OIC demanded that India must shun its illegal actions in the occupied region and halt its fascist program of demographic changes.

About LFOVK:

LFOVK is an independent organization that advocates, nationally and internationally, the Right of Self-Determination and respect for human rights in Occupied Kashmir through legal research, documentation, and capacity-building to address, under international law, the violations of individual and collective rights of Kashmiris. 

It aims at providing access to adequate legal defense for vulnerable people in the Occupied Territory. It conducts research, documentation, and collection of data on Human Rights issues. 

Pakistani, Kashmiri artists to work together to help preserve, protect, promote Kashmiri culture, heritage, says Shehryar Afridi

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KARACHI - Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Shehryar Khan Afridi has said that the artist communities of Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir would work closely to help preserve, protect and protect true cultural heritage of Kashmir. 

Addressing the participants of an informal meeting of Karachi-based members of the newly constituted Cultural Advisory Board of the committee here at Governor's House, Shehryar Afridi said that Kashmiri culture was being destroyed by the Indian Occupational regime of Jammu and Kashmir but Pakistani artists from cinematic, television and literary spheres would work with the Kashmiri artists to foil the Indian designs. 

"Modi regime is trying to harm the identity and pride of the Kashmiri nation. For this objective, the occupation forces are using tools of oppression including youth killings, torture, rape, and Indian cultural invasion to help their design of the Kashmiri genocide. We won't let India do it," he said. 

Afridi said that the occupational regime in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir is also trying to damage Kashmiri culture by massive demographic change through issuance of domicile to non-residents and also by opening wine shops and destroying Mosques and mazars in Jammu and Kashmir. 

He said that the Kashmir Committee stands committed to preserve the Kashmiri culture and identity and all steps would be taken necessary to restore the pride of Kashmiris. 

Shehryar Khan Afridi said rather than convening a meeting in Islamabad, he had decided to visit all the four provincial capitals and Muzaffarabad to meet the members of the advisory board in their hometowns first. 

"Once we hold meetings in provincial and Azad Kashmir capitals, we will convene a mega event in the National Assembly to send a strong message to the occupational regime of India and the world that Pakistan and its artists stand by Kashmiris shoulder to shoulder. 

He said soon meetings of the advisory board's Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar, Quetta, GB, and AJK chapters are due to take place next month.

Chaired by Shehryar Khan Afridi, the meeting was attended by accomplished names from the spheres of sports and media, including the likes of Squash legend Jahangir Khan, Actors Humayon Saeed, Fahad Mustafa,  Adnan Siddiqui, Bilal Ashraf, Ali Rahman Khan, Sarwat Gillani, and Dr. Fahad Mirza, singer Shehzad Roy and a host of other well-known faces. 

The meeting commenced with a recitation from the Holy Quran followed by the national anthems of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. 

The meeting highlighted the long-overdue need for an alliance between the television, film, and sports fraternity of Pakistan and their counterparts in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, aimed at working towards internationally projecting and promoting the rich and diverse cultural heritage of the valley and its people, in a bid to highlight their plight under decades of Indian oppression. 

The over two-hour long interaction saw participants discussing various avenues of propagating Kashmir's cultural richness both at home and abroad, and the crucial need to internationalize the issue of Kashmir and the right of its people to self-determination - this in line with Pakistan's long-standing position vis-a-vis the valley.

Human rights violations in Occupied Kashmir are a result of illegal occupation: Expert

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ISLAMABAD: “The conflict in Kashmir meets the threshold of International Armed Conflict (IAC) under Geneva Convention,” experts said at the sixth session to deliberate on “Failure of UN and Humanitarian organizations” viz-a-viz Kashmir.

At the round table hosted by the Legal Forum for Kashmir (LFOVK) on Monday, the final Session of “International Armed Conflict & Kashmir was held which aimed to trigger a debate over Kashmir’s International Armed conflict character and the applicability of the Law of War in disputed region.

Asif Khan, a senior assistant professor at Bahria University, said that all international laws, Geneva Conventions, and additional protocols apply to Kashmir but unfortunately, “we don’t see application of the international law in Kashmir.”

“For any occupation, there is legal solution and we push same before judicial bodies,” he said.

Iman Mazari in her comments said that Additional protocol IV restricts India for destroying civilian property in Occupied Kashmir.

“Human rights violations in Occupied Kashmir are result of illegal occupation,” she said.

“The denial of medical treatment, communication blackout, use of internationally banned pellet shotguns in IOK by Indian authorities stands in violation of international law.”

“Changing demography of Indian-occupied Kashmir into a Hindu majority by Modi-led BJP government and after abrogation of article 370 and 35A, India has breached Shimla agreement. Annexation cannot be recognized and we should work to sanction the occupying state for crime of aggression,” she added.

Oves Anwer, Director Research Society of International Law (RSIL), said the real battle is a “battle of narratives and legal battle”.

“The language of this battle is international law. We are not confronting India where we should confront. Unfortunately, Pakistan has reservations on international affairs,” he observed.

“India is labeling Kashmir freedom fighters as terrorism which is against all international norms. Kashmiris are fighting a legitimate war of liberation under international law,” he asserted.

Mohammad Shoib, assistant professor at Bahria University, said: “we need to realize that Kashmir is not only a political and legal issue, it is the case of humanitarian crises and occupation.”

“India cannot make laws for occupied territory, and Kashmiris don’t accept the constitution of India. So, the resistance against India becomes justified action for attaining the Right of Self Determination. Whatever India does to annex Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir is the strategy of Israel. Pakistan must take it serious,” he said.

The session was chaired by Justice (R) Ali Nawaz Chowhan – a former international judge at Hauge and Honorary member of LFOVK.

He said the government lobbyist for Kashmir “have no urge to fight for the right of Kashmir till internationalization of this issue was done by India itself”.

“This issue must not be reduced as a human rights issue. It is a hostile armed conflict with deep consequences if not addressed in due time,” said Justice Chowhan.

Chohan thanked LFOVK for its commitment and endeavor to pursue the lawfare of Kashmir.

“I am honored to be part of this team and soon we will come up with a legal doctrine which will give hope to the hopeless,” he said.

The session was moderated by Nasir Qadri, Director LFOVK.

He summed up the debate by calling Kashmir a “case of International armed conflict” while referring to certain International Humanitarian Law treaties which India has become a party.

Qadri said: “India cannot run away from the atrocity of crimes which they commit in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir. The rhetoric Kashmir as an internal matter or integral part is limited to their vote bank world knows the intensity of this armed conflict.”

27th October the black day for Kashmir.

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27th October is observed as the black day in the history of the Kashmir struggle. On this day Indian forces sponsored by Mountbatten and Nehru and constituting soldiers from maharaja of Patiala and Bakanir and as well of Kapoorthala joined the Dogra regime to crush the uprising of the locals of Kashmir against India. Shortly before this, there was the Jammu massacre in which there was a similar involvement leading to the killing of lacs of Muslims of Jammu.

Kashmir is the world largest militarized zone in the world with more than 800000 troops.The CIA factbook reveals that the people Army ratio is for every 5 individuals one army person is present. 27 October 2020 marks the 73rd year of military occupation in Indian occupied JK which is the longest in modern history. Since 1989 more than 96 thousand Kashmiris have been killed by the occupying army, 8000 have been subjected to enforced disappearance; there are 6000 unidentified mass graves in Kashmir. The occupying army use banned lethal weapons like pellet and PAVA grenades, Occupying force also use banned chemical to mutilate the dead bodies and destroy civilian property. India has criminalized dissent in Kashmir. The ban on media and free press speak volumes. The arbitrary detention under UAPA,PSA has crossed all the limits despite amnesty calling PSA a lawless law India has detained more than 15 thousand Kashmiri's since 05 August 2020. The impunity enjoyed by the army under AFSPA (armed forces special power act) has jeopardized the legal system, army use rape as a weapon of war, killed innocent under custody, and rampant use of torture.

The dispute of Kashmir is a source of international armed conflict and the Indian Army perpetrating war crimes, crime against humanity which needs to be adjudicated seriously before the world judicial forums.

The uprising and revolt against the Indian occupation is remarkable as well as the patience with which the people of Kashmir had gone through the ordeal. I congratulate them for their courage and steadfastness in encountering the evil military Indian machine.

I would be candid in saying that the Pakistan army took the brunt. Every day there are killings at the LOC. Three wars were fought. The conclusion is that we have to discover other dimensions for breaking the existing inertia, keeping the issue alive until the fulfillment of the Indian undertakings as reflected in UN resolutions.

We need a strong political will translated into action by a skillful approach for this purpose. I am sorry to say that for years the committee on Kashmir remained indolent. I also would attribute indolence to the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Who should have been proactive throughout the 73 years. The leadership emerging from Azad J&K has only involved themselves in self-praise, rhetoric and aggrandizement. Leading luxurious life unbecoming of people in protest asking for their rights. This is has been disappointing.

The truth is that because of a design and conspiracy of Nehru and Mountbatten the maharaja of Patiala and Bakanir had already sent troops before the arrival of Afridis and Pathans from FATA went to encounter them and were able to capture the territory now liberated. India went to the UN on false grounds and remains unsuccessful. However, it kept the issue in abeyance till this date. However, the issue is now once more internationalized because of carnage, the annexation against the constitutional guarantee under section 370 and 35 of the constitution of India. The tricks taught by chanakya, the philosophy of Hindutva and the Kashmiri political scientist who wrote Raj karni. The present stage is also the result of the betrayal on the part of people like sheikh Abdullah.

The LEGAL FORUM FOR OPPRESSED VOICES OF KASHMIR is finding legal means of bringing the issue to the notice of the United Nations. We hope that this dedicated group of indigenous Kashmiris and their friends in Pakistan will successfully push the issue forward and obtain a legal decision not only against the carnage but also for action against the Indian war machine who is committing war crimes against the innocent people of Kashmir. Soon you will hear the steps we envisaged for the legalistic answer.

In the end I refer to the sayings of Iqbal

Jis khaak ke manzar ke zamir mein ho aatish-e-Chinar

Mumkin nahin ke sard ho who khaak-e-arjumand


(The dust that has in its conscience

The fire of Chinar tree

That dust, celestial dust

Will never become old.)

Justice Ali Nawaz Chowhan

Hon. Chairman LFOVK

Good Governance versus Maladministration

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Our quest for good governance is still a dream. There is a lot of political rhetoric in favor of good governance and the rule of law since day one of the creation of Pakistan. The Quaid valued Human Rights, Dignity of men, freedom of beliefs, and practice of cultures as an essential part of the state.

According to the Quaid, the civil servants were the servants of the state and not their masters. They had to implement the policy framed by the representative of the people. Ironically the greatest numbers of complaints arise from mal administration attributed to bureaucracy. Bureaucracy has always been strong because of its network and the general incompetency of the political leadership who are supposed to govern them. Corruption is another aspect in which we find connivance of the leadership and the bureaucracy and this makes the bureaucracy uncontrollable and systems corrupt. 

The prime minister of Pakistan also has a grievance against the prevailing mal administration but it seems that he has no clue to amelioration the malady. 

The complaint receiving process arising out of common grievances of the people caught the attention of the military ruler who taking inspiration from the Swedish ombudsman introduced PO one of 1983. The objective and attributes of the ombudsman were formulated as follows.

-To right individual wrongs 
- To make bureaucracy more humane
- To lessen popular alienation from government 
- To prevent abuses by acting as a ‘bureaucratic watch-dog’ - To vindicate civil servants when unjustly accused.

In its report of 1985, the objective for the establishment of the ombudsman were stated as follows.

“The raison d’etre for setting up the institution of the wafaqi mohtasib was to institutionalize a new mechanism for readdressing injustice done to citizens by public functionaries at the federal level. It was sought to set up a system which combines judicial impartiality, adequate investigate capability, pragmatic flexibility in its procedures and professional insight into the labyrinth of the modern administrative structure.”

The main attribute envisaged is that the institution will be external to administration

The ombudsman was given extensive powers and it was said: 

“For carrying out the objective of this order and, in particular for ascertaining the root causes of corrupt practices and injustice, the Mohtasib may arrange for studies to be made or research to be conducted and may recommend appropriate steps for the eradication”

Mal administration and bad governance is the order of the day. We are still looking for forensic reports on the eradication of mal practices and corruption. Besides the federal ombudsman there are ombudsmen in the provinces, The institutions are ubiquitous, and yet as is said “water water everywhere but not a drop to drink”. 

The first wrong which was done by the military dictator was removing was to delist the ministry of defense and the cantonment boards rampant with maladministration and corruption from the preview of the federal ombudsman. As it noticed the main engagement of the ombudsman is in day to day complaints whereas the need is to change the system. 

I had the opportunity of being an observer in the office of the ombudsman of Sweden as well as the ombudsman of Ontario. It is amazing to see how these institutions have been catalys in making their system humane. A two-line letter from the ombudsman of Sweden to anyone including the army creates a chill, this does happen here. 

In the United States, there is a lot of respect for the rule of law. They have addition to other forums the administrative law judges (ALJ) system created by Mr Roosveld. I have studied this system while at Columbia University, New York, and find it a very useful model for Pakistan as it involves an adjudicatory rather than recommendatory process as in the case of the Pakistani ombudsman. After initial hearings, the grievance passes on from the ALJ to the federal district judge. And so the judicial power comes into the action in resolving the issue effectively. In our case references against the decision of the ombudsman are again reviewed at the office of the president and this causes delay and administrative interference in a judicial order. Having worked as a consultant to the president on administrative law, I had seen the process defeating the purpose. 

The other institution for the protection and promotion of human rights came into being in 2015. It remained functional for four years. Myself being the first chairman the commission published 34 investigative reports, over 4000 complaints, and many legislative drafts introduced Pakistan as a civilized society internationally, helped the government in achieving the benefits of GSP+. It helped the vulnerable segments of the society, the transgender, the minorities; those subjected to violence, and enforced disappearances. It advocated respect for human rights and rule of law. This institution was made dysfunctional and according to the report of Daily Dawn dated (29th October, 2020 “The Govt deliberately keeping HR bodies dysfunctional: Senate Body”) The National Commission for human rights Act 2012 protects the fundamental rights of the people and all rights granted by civil and political rights of the convention of the united nations 1966 and civil and economic rights of the people 1966. Besides, the fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution. So this law gave assurance for the rule of law and justice to the common man which is now being denied as such and this is unfortunate. 

The NCHR was created but purposely no rules were framed and budgetary problems were created so that the institution failed. Anyway because of the urge and passion of the civil society it succeeded which the institution faced but yet it succeeded. 

As the NCHR also performed judicial functions therefore the law enjoins that the chairman should be a person who is being a judge. Unfortunately, this requirement is being sabotage.

 Even for the ombudsman to be independent of administration the requirement is of a judge trained judicially and not somebody chosen from bureaucracy whose complaints he has to hear. So we made a mess of the concept of governance and administration. Someone has to take corrective measures.   
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