Pakistan PM Imran Khan (File photo)  |  Photo Credit: AP
- OHCHR in a report highlighted cases of enforced disappearances in PoK
- Human Rights Committee said rights violations worse in PoK than Kashmir
- Pakistani intelligence agencies were blamed for human rights violations
Islamabad: At a time when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is trying to ratchet up the Kashmir issue globally and alleged human rights violations, a UN report has warned that such violations in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) are far graver and “more structural in nature”.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in a report made several recommendations to the Pakistani authorities to address the concerns related to these violations in the region.
The Government of Pakistan in response to the 2018 OHCHR report said the constitutional and legal structures in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan protect the rights of its citizens. The OHCHR, also known commonly as the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, found that the concerns around human rights violations remain.
The report highlighted that the UN body had credible information of enforced disappearances of people from PoK, prisoners held in secret detentions and those who remain unaccounted for.
The report said that the victims of enforced disappearances include personnel of the Pakistani security forces and alleged operatives of the armed groups which previously operated in Kashmir. Those subjected to disappearances also include people from areas close to the Line of Control (LoC) under the control of Pakistan armed forces.
The victims whose cases were highlighted in the Human Rights Committee report blamed Pakistan intelligence agencies including the infamous Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Rights groups fear that those made to disappear from the PoK might be held illegally in military-run internment camps in Pakistan.
The OHCHR stated that although the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) does not use the word “enforced disappearances”, it refers to a series of acts representing a continued violation of various right as enshrined in the Covenant.
Not just PoK, there have been several reports of such disappearances from Pakistan’s Balochistan province. Earlier, to highlight the plight of Baloch activists being killed by the Pakistani regime, human rights activists from the World Baloch Organisation and the Baloch Republican Party carried out a campaign to highlight the worsening human rights situation in the province. Thousands of political activists, suspected armed separatists and people calling for the freedom of Balochistan have disappeared without a trace in Pakistan’s restive province in the past decade.
The OHCHR is a department of the UN that works for the promotion of human rights guaranteed under international law and stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948.