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Islamism vs Human Rights in Pakistan, a conference organised at Flemish Parliament at Brussels

Brussels, Belgium, May 24, 2022:-

A conference titled Islamism vs Human Rights in Pakistan was held today at Flemish Parliament hosted by Mr. Filip Dewinter , First President of the Flemish Parliament (MP) and co-hosted by Jamil Maqsood UKPNP.

Among th prominent Participants were Kristof Stagmulders – Member of the Flemish Parliament . Filip Dewinter- First Vice President of the Flemish Parliament. Johan Deckmyn- Member of the Flemish Parliament. Anke Van Dermeersch- Senator Belgian Senate- Member of the Flemish Parliament, Vice President Belgian Senate. Tom Van Den Driessche, Member of the European Parliament (MEP), Thierry Marianni- Member of the European parliament ( MEP). LUC Doms- Staff Member & Lawyer. William Van De Kerckhoven, city of Antwerp. Staff member. Sam Van Rooy- Member of the Flemish Parliament. Tim Wilkens. Flanders Trade and investment. Annicq Deneve, Staff member, Belgian Senate. klaas Stootmans. Member of the Flemish Parliament. Dirk Smulders. Editor TScheldt. Kathleen Bury- Member of the Federal Parliament. Carl De Connick- Editor Palnews. Ralf Van De Haute, Staff Member European Parliament. Alexander Van Hoecke- Staff Member, Commission Foreign Affairs- Flemish Parliament. Jorden Dewachter- Staff Member, Commission Foreign Affairs- Federal Parliament of Belgium. Nancy Verrijke, PS to Filip Dewinter. Dr. Wolfgang Pape, CEPS, Club of Rome (Lawyer) Luc Doms, Staff member (Lawyer), William Van De Kerckhoven, Staff member, City of Antwerp. Tim Wilekens, Flanders Investment and Trade. Annicq Deneve, Staff member Belgian Senate, Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri- Exiled Chair of UKPNP (Exiled in Switzerland) Jamil Maqsood Central Secretary on Foreign Affairs Committee UKPNP exile in Belgium. Sardar Nasir Aziz Khan, Central Spokesperson of UKPNP (Exiled in Switzerland), Mr. Junaid Qureshi Executive Director- EFSAS- Think Tank (Netherlands),. Gaspard Daniel- Minorities Rights Activist & Journalist (Netherlands), Fazal-Ur-Rahman Afridi, President of Khyber Institute of Research and Strategic Studies, (France), Sardar Amjad Yousuf- President of UKPNP- Europe Zone (UK) , Mr. Sajid Hussain- Secretary Information of UKPNP (Belgium), Mrs. Nargis Nazir, Mirza Abdul Aleem Shafiq- Civil Rights Activist (Switzerland) Mr. Rahman Ullah Khan- PTM (Belgium) Malik Bazai- Pushtoon Tahfuz Movement (PTM), Mr. Sikandar Abbas – Vice President of UKPNP. Gary CARTWRIGHT Brussels based Journalist and Editor of EU- Today.

Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri- Exiled Chair of UKPNP (Exiled in Switzerland) Jamil Maqsood Central Secretary on Foreign Affairs Committee UKPNP exile in Belgium. Sardar Nasir Aziz Khan, Central Spokesperson of UKPNP (Exiled in Switzerland) and Mr. Junaid Qureshi Executive Director- EFSAS- Think Tank (Netherlands) discussed the issue of Islamism from Kashmir perspective. At the end of the main speeches, the honorable members of Parliament posed questions to the speakers and informed the audience about policy and vision of their party at the Flemish and European Parliament.

Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, discussed in details the prevailing situtation in Jammu and Kashmir and the effects of the Islmist ideology imposed by Pakistani State on the Kashmiri people. The complete text of Mr. Kashmiri’s speech is as under;

video link of the speech:

We are deeply concerned and would like to draw the attention of this august gathering towards serious  violations of human rights in the princely state of Jammu & Kashmir where the people of Pakistan administered Azad Kashmir AJK & Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) lack economic, social, Cultural, Civil and political rights including right to development. The whole system is being controlled by the Federal Government at Islamabad, where people have no rights and even control on their own resources. The electoral laws undermine the basic political rights of the local populace  by barring them from seeking office if they oppose Jammu Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan. The pro-independence political leaders of Jammu & Kashmir have either been killed or have languished in jail or living in forced infinite Exile.

The assemblies and rulers of both regions are powerless. The whole power is at the hands of the lent officers imposed from Pakistan. No one from state subject has to contest election or to get a job or register a political party without signing the affidavit of Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan. It is a very big fraud that the area is being called Azad ( Free), without any real freedom. The electoral repressive colonial laws are undemocratic and unjustified. . Pakistani Political Parties and Ban outfits can register their organizations in Pakistani Administrated  Jammu & Kashmir (PAK) but Nationalists are not allowed to take part in the election or register their political organization.

The culture and local traditions are under real threat because of growing influence of religious fanatics and religious extremist organizations which are regrouping in our region  and Gilgit Baltistan. Pakistan state policy to use the extremist groups as its strategic assets is playing with peoples’ lives and destroying their culture and values. Many people of Pakistani Administrated Azad Jammu & Kashmir  and Gilgit- Baltistan (GB), have already sacrificed their young generation in the name of “jihad” and extremism which in fact was a proxy war, started under Operation Topac a covert operation that can’t be considered as  freedom struggle.

In Pakistan and Pakistani Administered Azad Kashmir & Gilgit Baltistan the number of people speaking each of these languages is not estimated correctly because these communities do not have a separate counting column in the Population Census.

The local languages endangered in So- Called Azad Kashmir  are Pahari, Gojri, Kashmiri and the languages endangered in Gilgit Baltistan,Shina, Brushaski, Balti, Wakhi, Khowar and Domaki. These languages are ‘potentially endangered’ because it lacks prestige in the disputed territory, its speakers suffer from economic deprivation, it is under pressure from a larger language in the public sphere and the languages are not being systematically passed on in the education system. Our language are endangered when its speakers are adults and it is not passed on to the children, especially in schools as well as not taught in universities.

In Pakistani Administered  Jammu Kashmir & Gilgit Baltistan(GB)  the number of people speaking each of these languages is not estimated correctly because these communities do not have a separate counting column in the Population Census. Dilemma of endangered Languages in  Pakistan. The Dilemma of Endangered Languages is that, none of Pakistan’s governments has ever taken any initiative of profiling the languages spoken by the people of the Pakistani Administered  Jammu Kashmir & Gilgit-Baltistan.

We raise our concern about the mega project being constructed in our disputed areas of Jammu & Kashmir. The Natural flows of the  rivers have been diverted and disturbed the whole ECO system and Environment of these areas. All these mega projects are being constructed without the proper consultation of local people and governments. The local people do not have any benefit from these projects. Their resources are being plundered, and they are unable to get any benefits from this development. The affected people from these projects are waiting for compensation for their land. The local people are neglected in jobs and even they have no permission to raise their voice for their rights. The local youth are being unemployed and economically marginalized. Pakistan has deliberately kept the area underdeveloped and exploited its resources since 1947 and that’s why our two million people have left from their native area.

We are  concerned about the Cultural rights and growing extremism and terrorism in the regions and free roaming of banned terrorist organizations in Pakistani Administered  Azad Kashmir. Fundamental freedoms including   freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom of movement, freedom of assembly has been taken away and compromised for many decades.

We are concerned about growing human rights violations taking place in areas of Jammu and Kashmir under administration of Pakistan, whereby political activists and members of civil society have become targets of state infrastructure, and extremist outfits supported by Islamabad.

We condemn actions of Azad Kashmir authorities for banning books on, and booklets and literature related to the history of State of Jammu and Kashmir; and demand that the right of expression must be respected. 

We urge   Government of Pakistan to abolish   all discriminatory clauses from so-called AJK Act -1974 imposed on the people of Azad Kashmir.

We are concerned that the government of Pakistan has socially, politically, economically, constitutionally even democratically marginalized both regions of the former princely state of Jammu & Kashmir.

We recommend that the exploitation of the natural resources should be ended and all those resources must be utilized in the best interest and socio-economic development of both regions that have been forced to live in a backward socio- political and socio- economic system since 1947.

We demand for more people to people contact between all the divided parts of the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Kargil- Skardu road should be opened immediately so that the divided families in both regions could also benefit from peace initiatives between Pakistan and India initiated in 2003.

We ask the Government of Pakistan to revive the road link between Muzaffarabad and Gilgit.

We demand that the ban imposed on student unions must be lifted. Simultaneously we are asking the Government of Pakistan to stop Punjab text book board curriculum in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

We believe that the Government of Pakistan and its secret agencies are using their powers with impunity especially when they are abducting innocent people. The involuntary disappearance and dreadful assassination of Shahzad Ahmed a school teacher in Bratla- Kotli has triggered massive anger among Kashmiris. According to his parents some unknown persons were threatening to kill him. We are demanding a fair investigation in his case.

We are very much concerned about terror infrastructure in both regions and we have been asking world community to establish a fact finding mission to oversee ground situation in both regions of former princely state.

We have serious concerns about Government of Pakistan policies against secular, progressive and nationalist political workers and intimidation of those who peacefully demand democratic and constitutional rights from Pakistan.

We recommend that the Jammu & Kashmir dispute should be resolved through a process of dialogue, and by adopting all peaceful means and in accordance with aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir State. 

We strongly condemns strict restrictions on freedom of expression & association, press media and publications. Banning books and newspapers in Gilgit Baltistan and in Azad Kashmir.

We demand lifting of ban on all newspapers in Gilgit Baltistan and in Azad Kashmir  and harassment of journalists and political workers must be stopped. All political workers and members of civil society who have been victimized for their political views and jailed must be released.

Our organization wishes to remind the concerned authorities that it is the prime responsibility of the state to protect life, liberty and property of all citizens; and that they must honor all international obligations assumed under the UNCIP Resolutions and in various other international covenants.

We urge the government of Pakistan to take effective measures to control activities of those who promote extremism, violence and intolerance in various parts of the POJK and in Gilgit and Baltistan. Also, they must ensure that religious and ethnic minorities in Pakistan must not become victims of intolerance and hate.

We demand for the release of all political and human rights activists of Balochistan, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtoonkhaw, Punjab, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir; and demand that all military actions in these areas must stop and a process of dialogue should start to resolve these issues.

Accusations of blasphemy continue to endanger lives. The alarming uptick in blasphemy accusations across Pakistan underscores the urgency with which the draconian laws that enable abuse and risk lives must be repealed.

International community should put pressure on Pakistan to respect human rights and ensure fundamental freedoms including right to life, liberty and movement in all parts of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit- Baltistan.

I’ thank you all for your patience and attention.

Fazal ur Rehman Afridi President of Khyber Institute for Research and Strategic Studies, elaborated on the topic from Pashtun perspective. His full speech is as under;

It is really an honor to speak on this important issue at this august occasion in front such important personalities. I will discuss the issue of ISLAMIS VS HUMAN RIGHTS IN PAKISTAN from Pashtun ethnic minority’s perspective living on both sides of the controversial Durand line. Right from the creation of the artificial and convoluted Pakistan, Pashtun ethnic minority has been the target of worst kind Islamism imposed on them by Punjabi Establishment. We Pashtuns have paid a very heavy price due to radical Islam and have been kept away from civilization and modern-day education so that can be easily influenced and used as gun fodder by fighting other people’s wars in our close vicinity and far away regions of the world.

Pakistan which is not a nation rather a country of completely different groups of people, very cleverly used Islamic identity as label, as repressive cultural tool to undermine our Pashtun identity. Robed of their Pashtun identity, Pashtuns tribesmen were used under Islamic label by Islamic Republic of Pakistan in attacking the present Pakistani occupied Kashmir which resulted in gross human rights violation of Kashmiri people. Successful in this operation, Punjab regiment then used Pashtuns against other nations like Balochs in Baluchistan province and Afghans during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Rather than using Pashtun nationalism to counter Soviets Pakistan used radical Islamic ideology to fight a long and costly Jihad which resulted in the killing and injuring of millions and displacement of millions of Afghans. More than 40 thousand Madrasas were established to radicalize innocent young Pashtuns to fight foreign wars. Education curriculum was imported from a foreign country to radicalize Pashtuns in Pakistan.

The first human rights violation of Pashtun ethnic minority was committed on12 august 1948 at Bahbra when more than 666 innocent Pashtuns were brutally murdered and more than 1800 were injured by Pakistani security forces for raising their voice for their rights.

After soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, these fanatics were left to fight each other which resulted in the destruction of Kabul and the whole Afghanistan.
Pakistan, not satisfied with so much destruction and miseries of Pashtuns, again created another monster called TALIBAN in year 1992.
Taliban were used by Pakistan to completely rob Pashtuns of their identity and history. The terrorists from around the world including Osama Bin laden were brought to the tribal areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Taliban were responsible for the worst type of human rights violations in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Pashtuns were the first victims of radical Islamic ideology.
After 9/11, the state of Pakistan double gamed both Americans and Pashtuns. While, Pakistan provided sanctuaries to Afghan Taliban in Pakistan Army Garrisons, Americans were robbed of billions of dollars in the so-called war on terror. Instead of targeting Taliban and Al Qaeda Pakistani Military killed thousands of innocent Pashtuns by using F-16 Jet bombers, helicopter gunships and artillery. More than 200,000 houses, 25000 shops/markets and infrastructure of FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were razed to ground while millions of Pashtuns internally displaced. Pakistan Army committed war crimes and crimes against humanity by killing 75000 innocent Pashtuns and more than 32000 forcibly disappeared. We are still stuck between Taliban fanaticism to our west and Pakistani-Punjabi militarism in the east.

It is to be noted that General Musharaf, former Chief of Army Staff and President of Pakistan has accepted the fact in his book that he sold 5000 Pakistanis to foreign countries for money. thousands of innocent civilians particularly Pashtuns and Balochs have been forcibly disappeared, tortured and extra-judicially killed to prove to the Western Countries particularly USA that Pakistan is actively fighting against Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorists in its war on terror. Ironically not a single Taliban leader or Al-Qaeda terrorist was killed by Pakistan in these operations. Pakistan played a double game with USA and International Community by earning billions of dollars from them. While actually providing sanctuary to Taliban and Al-Qaeda terrorists in its garrisons.
So, to conclude radical Islam was used as political tool in a systematic manner through educational Curriculum, through establishment of Madrassas in every nook and corner of the country, promotion of terrorist organizations in the country and abroad, and even the constitution was used as a tool to promote Islamism in the country and target liberal ethnic and religious minorities and violated the basic fundamental rights of people of Pakistan.

link of the speech:

Fazal ur Rehman Afridi
President IRESK
Head of the Advocacy and Foreign Affairs
Pashtun Protection Movement (PTM)