Srinager /Muzaffarabad, Jammu and Kashmir, Sunday, 26 July, 2009:
Press For Peace (PFP) has asked India and Pakistan to ensure the protection of civil liberties in their administrative parts of Kashmir and both should immediately release political activists who have been arrested or under house arrest in different parts of Jammu and Kashmir.
‘India should release Ali Shah Gillani and Shabir Shah on humanitarian basis as both have serious health problems and need extensive and urgent medical treatment.”
Syed Ali Geelani, 79, was held under Public Safety Act after a midnight raid on his house in Srinagar. Another Kashmiri leader Shabir Shah is under detention since August 2008. Shabir Ahmad Shah is reportedly seriously ill and had been advised surgery by doctors.
In a statement issued on Sunday, PFP warned that lives of both ailing Kashmiri leaders might be under risk if they were not provided extensive medical treatment immediately.
‘ICRC and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) should intervene to save the lives of senior Kashmir politicians”, it further said.
PFP statement said that Sardar Liaquat Hayat (Central President of Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party) and 13 other political activists, including members of a student group -National Students Federation (NSF) were arrested without any judicial warrants in Pakistan controlled Azad Jammu Kashmir and Rawalpindi in wake of their protest against accession to Pakistan day observed by some Kashmirs on 19 July. Similarly, last week few political activists were arrested in Pakistan controlled Northern Areas.
“The arrests of political workers in Srinager, Muzaffarabad and Gilgit Baltistan clearly demonstrate that India and Pakistan have failed to respect basic human rights in their administrative regions of Kashmir. It is responsibility of civil society of both countries and world community to press nuclear powers of South Asian region to respect political dissidents”, it further said.
The expression of ideas and views is right of every citizen and it must not be suppressed through state state terrorism and brutal force, it added.