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Current Affairs ( 14 Dec 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri- exiled Chairman of United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP), Virtual Press Conference On 12th December-2020, To Respond to EU- Disinfo Lab and UKPNP

By Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri

15 December 2020

Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri


Dear Journalists, Political and Human Rights fraternity and dear friends.

 The purpose of today’s press conference is to share our views regarding biased and fabricated report published by an NGO named as EU DisInfoLab registered in Brussels- from 2017, The said NGO, describe itself as “EU DisInfoLab is a young independent NGO focused on researching and tackling sophisticated disinformation campaigns targeting the EU, its member states, core institutions, and core values”. 

It is worth understanding that NGOs with the (ECOSOC) special consultative status with the social & economic Council of the United Nations have their prerogative to accredit Human Rights Defenders and Civil Society activists across the globe. It is imperative to note the UN mechanism and the role of NGOs. The nineteen (19) members committee is responsible to award special consultative status to any NGO after a thorough & comprehensive scrutiny of three years activities and reports of such candidate NGO.  Once an NGO is recognized by the committee, they are given the authority to accredit maximum fifteen (15) persons to enter into UN premises and represent it.

According to EUDisinfo, they have mentioned approximately ten NGOs enjoying Special Status allegedly having link with one Groups registered in India.  It is also worth interesting that the NGO we represent aren’t mentioned but so mischievously they used our Pictures from 40th regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council of March- 2019 and from different media websites in this baseless report just to defame us. The United Kashmir people’s National Party (UKPNP), has been highlighting issues related to the rule of law, ownership of our natural resources, self- governance and exploitation and plunder of natural resources of our region. We have also highlighted United Nations Commission for India & Pakistan (UNCIP), resolutions on Jammu & Kashmir. The case of enforced and involuntary disappearances, extra judicial killings, question of freedom of press & media, growing extremism and terrorism across the region & right to development of the people of Pakistani administered parts of Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit- Baltistan.  We have always highlighted the discrimination towards nationalist leaders and rights activists including minorities and ethnic groups and forced conversion of minor Hindu girls particularly in Sindh, Pakistan and extra judicial killings of Ahmadiyya Muslim community in various parts of Pakistan. We have also supported the restoration of independent judiciary in Pakistan and lawyer's movement.  We have also highlighted state repression against press & media, media persons and media houses in Pakistan. We have extended our support to independent judges and lawyers, political opponents in Pakistan and its peripheries striving for the constitutional & democratic rights of the people.

It is irony that the said NGO, didn’t highlighted our interventions at the United Nations Human Rights Council session. If that NGO, was a genuine whistleblower they should have published or broadcast what has been said at 40th Session of the UNHRC or any of our briefing at EU institutions.

One more thing is need to considered that is mentioned in their statement page no –26 that “It is important to remember (please read the executive summary) that this investigation does not intend to undermine the credibility of these organizations, and the fact that they had to speak via proxy accredited NGOs does not mean that what these organizations are saying should not be heard”. From page 28 to 29, the NGO was failed to provide any credible link between UKPNP, and alleged group, on the basis of this statement therefore we call it a report compiled with biased approaches. By mentioning United Kashmir people’s National Party (UKPNP), such impression has created that an ordinary person can’t differentiate. 

The people who are a long associated with the United Nations Human Rights Council are aware that the earlier NGOs had enormous space which is gradually shrinked and the different governments are trying to silence dissenting voices at such esteemed forums.  Before the NGOs have had the power to accredit hundred people as participants. Gradually it has limited to only fifteen (15) participants and only five (5) permanent representatives for annual subscription of the UNHRC, sessions and different programs are granted permission.  Any NGO with special consultative status can enjoy all those privileges no matter where that NGO is registered or based. According to UN mechanism any registered organization can partner itself with NGO with special status to hold any side event or roundtable discussion inside the UN.  Due to ill- information or less knowledge about NGOs and Consultative status NGOs most of the people get confused so it is necessary for them to understand that system of the Organization. 

This isn’t an international NGO, but a local Organization based in Brussels.  This NGO has nothing to do with the mechanism of the United Nations or not even enjoying consultative status.  there are several questions on the credibility of this NGO & its report.  It can only serve the purpose of those who wish to undermine pro- people voices at international forums.

This is immensely important to understand and explain European democratic values and charter of fundamental freedoms. We also acknowledge that Europe has defended core values of protection and promotion of all those rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That’s why most of the political and human rights and civil society activists flee from undemocratic states to Europe to safeguard their lives. Regularly a huge number of Refugees are reaching to the European sea shores. And the European continent is happily embracing them to live in a peaceful social security. 

We the Political and human Rights activists from Pakistani Occupied Jammu Kashmir which is commonly referred as Azad Kashmir are also one of those people who had to leave their soil to save our souls from tyrant regime of Pakistan and particularly its Intelligence agencies that are hunting pro-people, secular, progressive and democratic voices every day and from a long time.  I’ was the first person to blow a whistle against these atrocities of Pakistani military, its intelligence agencies and stooges operating in so called Azad Kashmir & Gilgit- Baltistan. In the result of that peaceful struggle, I’ was twice kidnapped by the Intelligence Agencies of Pakistan mainly Inter- Service- Intelligence (ISI), in 1994 & 1998. I’ was released due to avalanche of pressure by the International Community mainly the US department of State, UNHRC, Amnesty International and many other international dignitaries.  I’ and my Party fellows had to bear all the malicious and fabricated propaganda that we are foreign agents and working for someone else just to malign our demands and press our voices that the people of Pakistani Occupied Regions which are so Called Azad Kashmir & Gilgit- Baltistan have been deprived of fundamental human rights and rights to development. The High Commissioner of the United Nations Human Rights Council in his 18th June-2018 Report has comprehensively described those gray areas which we have been highlighting for a long time.

The Brussels based NGO has published 89 pages report unheartening of Fake NGOs network operating such esteemed Institutions like United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and the European Parliament. In its reaction on that report the UN spokesperson Mr. Rolando Gomez, has told the BBC that it was the prerogative of NGOs to raise whichever issue they wish to address and whoever they grant space to speak on the floor.

"There are no rules stating that an NGO must speak to specific issues. Doing so would amount to infringing on their freedom of speech," Mr Gomez said.

 Most of the people may not be aware about the security protocols and scrutiny of those Institutions but those who used to enter into these premises are so well aware about the process & procedure. 

It is to inform you that the NGO isn’t aware about the procedure that NO Political Party is given the floor for intervention at the UN Human Rights Council or NO Political Party can display its flag or other symbols inside the UN premises.  However, the Political Parties are free to hold their flags, banners and political symbols outside the UN- premises.  

While on its Report page 26, The names of many non- UN entities including our Party is mentioned. It shows that the said NGO has only offered its platform to serve the interest of someone else.  The NGO has mentioned several hundred of interventions about Human Rights Violations in Pakistan and its peripheries made at UNHRC, but she has failed to mentioned volumes of such interventions made against India and other regional countries?  We see this a one sided and managed cyber warfare in which this NGO has engulfed itself without knowing the UNHRC and its mechanism. 

 In its details research the NGO has failed to create or find any link between UKPNP and Srivastava group.  It has created a negative impact about our struggle and work to highlight various Human Rights issues at these esteemed institutions. Their research is based on internet material and before mentioning us they must had to take our point of view regarding our stance.

I’m speaking on behalf of United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP) and I’ reject this entire statement in which myself and my comrades are mentioned. Our Party reserve every right to defend ourself at all such forums and at any court of law when required.  I’ reiterate that we shall continue our peaceful struggle with resilience and for the safety of our human rights and right to development. We are the members of the human family and under that charter we deserve the right to life and existence. 

The NGO has maliciously used our pictures of Interventions during 40th regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in March-2019.  I’ and my comrade Jamil Maqsood didn’t represent any such Organization mentioned in the list or allegedly called as fake NGOs. I’ once again reaffirm my commitment to continue our peaceful resolve. I’m asking all the Journalists to abide by the journalistic values and not spread such fake news in the name of disinformation.  All our interventions and other activities are available online and regularly published on our website. 

Please raise any question if you need further clarification.

                                                                      Q & A Session:

Replaying to the Question raised by Ms. Iffat Abbas, Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, has elaborated that, the weaker people have to knock the doors of the courts. We are determined to face this kind of allegations at all forums. That we have been doing in the past and we have taken so many people to the courts and ultimately, they had to tender apology and get for as allegations are concerned this is nomenclature of the Pakistani politics to call their opponents as Indian or foreign agents.  this culture is evident in Pakistan that a person like Mian Nawaz Sharif, who was elected thrice as Prime Minister & leader of a most popular political party of Pakistan has been called as Modi’s Buddy. 

 This is such a worthless question to be seriously considered.  It is long list of traitors in Pakistan starting from Mrs. Fatima Jinnah to Nawaz Sharif. All the elected Prime Ministers have been under the shadows of such baseless allegations.  Some has said in recent years that until you aren’t called traitor your loyalty to your people and the state wouldn’t be confirmed.  We have never called anyone traitor or foreign agent. I’ have simply elaborated UN mechanism and it’s procedure and transparency and accountability within the UN system of governance.  It is also understandable that if any NGO would have been involved in illicit activities any country can get it suspended through UN mechanism. Why Pakistan had to wait for (15) years?  That Pakistan is helplessly watching. It proves the volume of propaganda.  So, to prove such propaganda the word EU has been used to confused the entire scenario.

 We aren’t scared at all and we wish to tell our innocent people that your voices inside the United Nations and the European Parliament wouldn’t be silenced.  You should also research that on 7th May 2007; the European Parliament has adopted a Resolution. Nevertheless, the Government of Pakistan has engaged into Karachi Agreement on 28th of April-1949, the Pakistani ambassador stationed in Brussels and Lord Nazir Ahmed wrote letters to the members of the European Parliament that Gilgit- Baltistan and Azad Kashmir should be excluded from that Report. Particularly the region of Gilgit- Baltistan.  Upon our timely intervention I’ myself & Jamil Maqsood started our meetings and briefings with the Members of the European Parliament to inform them about all these documents, agreements and Pakistani policies towards the region.  In the very same revolution, the Gilgit- Baltistan has been declared as part of the erstwhile state of Jammu& Kashmir. Pakistan was also directed to address all the issues pertaining to that region. Eventually the resolution was adopted by 522 votes in the European Parliament.

Replaying to the question of Paris based Journalist Mr. Bilal Baloch: and UK based Journalist Shams Rehman, Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri said told the journalists and participants that; Basically, we have to analyze who the pictures of some people have been used differently. This kind of tactics are showing ill intentions of said NGO.  We do have many Pakistani journalist friends since our student life they personally know us, but their media is not able to take our views on their platform due to state’s repression. Every media house or such entity publish content that serve their national interest, similarly Indian media or their organizations would like to serve their sovereign interests.

As, I’ have elaborated the mechanism and methodology of the NGOs.  it is mandatory for each NGO to get it registered nationally and then after three years of its activities she can request for the consultative status.  I’ personally know many NGOs whose request for the special status is pending from many years because any member country could object on their final acceptance.  Many such NGOs are either based in India or Pakistan because of the fragility of state’s rivalries.  Normally there are very few ECOSOC NGOs from the Muslim countries because of their reluctance towards such organizations. Whereas the African nations are more friendly towards such NGOs because of their colonial past and supporting each other to seek remedies collectively. Since the backout of United States and empowerment of China into UN, the rights & the activities of civil society organizations have been affected. 

As for as I’ know the Government of Pakistan has never complained against any of these organizations mentioned by the Brussels based NGO. Like one of a renowned Organization like Interfaith International was disbanded at the complaint of Pakistan and they had to resume their activities after many years of suspension by the ECOSOC Committee.  We all live in Europe and if any government would invite any MEP or group of MEPs is rarely refused normally, they accept the invitation to visit that country.  Parliaments do have many groups right wing, left wing environmentalists' groups etc. There ae several examples that members of the British Parliament take their colleagues on official trip to Pakistan.  We can’t and shouldn’t alleged any such MEP of Pakistani origin as Pakistani agents etc. this is not our culture of politics.  It is also important to tell you that we were never interrupted by the state of Pakistan during our interventions at the United Nations. 

Like ANI, mentioned in the report that are publishing activities of Geneva & Brussels it is entirely prerogative of a media organization to report the event. Many Pakistani media houses do the same but none of those news or websites cited in the report. It is just they had to target India and they have pointed out ANI reporting. We have been observing this practice since years.  You all know very well that we have been briefing different foreign offices regarding our miseries and those diplomatic quarters consider our request to mitigate our sufferings. So, these reports and such organizations has no value merely a propaganda. This isn’t an impartial organization its entire work is on those human rights defenders that are demanding their rights from Pakistan. This kind of reporting has maligned renowned human rights defenders which are victims of Pakistan. I'm not sure but such reports have also created an impression that Pakistan is behind such report just to malign rights groups working at such forums. 

Responding to the Question of Mr. Khalid Hameed Farooqi, Geo TV- Correspondent for Europe:  Exiled Chairman of UKPNP, explained that I’ have nothing to do with the authenticity of such report. My prime objection is my personal name is mentioned in that report. They illicitly published my picture when I’ was delivering a speech at 40th session of the UNHRC, in March-2019.  for me their report is not more than a table story.  The members of the European Parliament used to visit different parts of the world to reconcile the conflicts. The organizations working on conflict resolutions used to facilitate such trips in various regions. This kind of reports have had no value until media house like BBC- has carried its content and published. 

Replying to the question of France based Hulman rights defender from KPK- Mr. Fazal Karim Afridi, Mr. Kashmiri has elaborated that there are many actors from Pakistan taking credit of this so-called report. And this kind of dubious report has only defamed human rights defenders striving for the promotion and protection of fundamental rights in Pakistan and Pakistani peripheries.

Jamil Maqsood also spoke to the event and expressed his views regarding  EUDisinfo Lab report. And how his pictures out of the context published and they tried to create an impression that he is also linked with any NGO having based in India. It is to strengthen Pakistani propaganda that these people have been facilitated by India inside the United Nations Human Rights Council & at the European Parliament.  BY doing so they (NGO), has deliberately confused the entire situation. Responding on the question of Mr. Azeem Jaami a UKPNP stalwart from Pakistani Occupied Kashmir, Jamil Maqsood has assured him that we shall counter all the baseless allegations and would defeat smear campaign against our peaceful struggle for the just cause.  That we shall care about our people.  No one need to be afraid. We shall defend our rights and people at all forums. As in previous session this year Intervention was also made for the release of Tanveer Ahmed who is languishing in jail in Mirpur, Pakistani Occupied Kashmir.

Replying to the question raised by Mr. Arif Ajaakia, Sardar Nasir Aziz Khan responded that mainstream media of Pakistan is constantly broadcasting programs specially on our Party and launching propaganda and we are aware about their intentions.  However, we have had invited all those like BBC, Aljazeera, Hamid Mir from GEO TV, Islamabad but none oof them has joined this press conference to get our point of view. 

Responding to the question raised by Mirza Abdul Aleem Shafique a journalist from Switzerland, Mr. Kashmiri elaborated that some of the NGOs are very old. Elaborating the locus standi of the NGOs he said that no NGO is fake when she is enjoying ECOSOC status. We never benefitted any of those Organizations mentioned but I’ doesn’t mean we support any wrong narrative. No fake NGOs can enter into the United Nations. I’ entirely trust on its mechanism and scrutiny and security.  All those NGO's have been accredited by the United Nations. This is such a malicious propaganda against civil society and human rights defenders. Pakistani establishment has attempted not to defame us but to sabotage entire democratic movement of the different nations.

I’ consider all the Human rights defenders as one family and our traditions of defending HRs are common.  we are all together in this defense of human rights. I’ have already elaborated about the political culture of Pakistan. From this platform I’ declare that we aren’t the agents of any country, but yes off course those countries which respect human rights, promote and protect democracies and promote secularism deserve our deep appreciation.  But we do have extreme criticism to those countries who have been promoting communalism, and trying to make communalism their identity, they use communal forces for their national and strategic interests. This isn’t my statement but is the finding of the Judges of apex courts in Pakistan.  Like Justice Fiaz Isa had to face a judicial reference and Justice Shaukat Aziz Saddiqi has been panelized. He is fighting his case at supreme court of Pakistan today.  His talk abouts ISI’s intervention in judicial matters is part of the record.  We know dirty business of Pakistan since long.  I’ welcome our long-standing friend Mr. Baseer Naveed. He has been defending human rights from a long time. If anyone would try to victimize him, we shall stand by him. We shall be grateful to any news agency either from India or Pakistan who will publish the news and report of our activities. Because we aren’t the pursuant of any hidden agenda. Whatever we do we do it openly and in front of hundreds of people. We hold press conferences; or the conferences and seminars or organizing protests and rallies everything is done clearly.

This kind of NGOs has provided a propaganda into the hands of Pakistani cronies so that they can consume prime time on TV channels and on social media spread baseless statements against human rights defenders and genuine voices of the region.

At this point prominent Hulman rights defender Baseer Naveed expressed his vies that it is unfortunate state of affairs in Pakistan that Pakistan didn’t learned anything. Once I’ had to go for the renewal of my Pakistani Passport in the Pakistani embassy and the responsible person asked me to get my passport from Baluchistan because I’ was a staunch supporter of their cause and have been speaking against enforced and involuntary desperateness. Eventually my passport wasn’t renewed. Pakistan itself has banned so many international NGO  under fake and fabricated charges. They intend to keep the country behind iron curtains. Most of those NGOs were  operating inside were leveled as they are taking money from India. Mr. Baseer Naveed also mantioned that how pakistanbi authorities are defaming our HR activism inside the United Nations.

At the end of the Press Conference Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, thanked all the respected Journalists and participants and our Party stalwarts who have attended this press conferene.