UNITED NATIONS, Jan 02 (APP): Pakistan has stepped up its efforts to save Aasiya Andrabi, the detained Kashmiri human rights defender facing a controversial trial in India, from the possibility of summary execution, with a call on two senior UN officials on Friday to push New Delhi to drop all “trumped up” charges against her.
Ambassador Munir Akram made that urgent call in identical letters sent to Pramila Patten, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, and Phumzile Gloria Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, the world body’s entity for gender equality.
Friday’s letters were in addition to one dispatched by the Pakistani envoy to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres a day earlier in which he urged Guterres to ask India to provide Ms. Andrabi complete legal protections.
“With Indian judiciary showing no proclivity to defend for the rights of Kashmiris, there is an imminent and real threat to the life of Ms. Andrabi, and her associates, who are staring at a real possibility of a judicial murder,” Ambassador Akram wrote.
Ms. Andrabi, the founding leader of Kashmiri organization “Dukhtaran-i-Millat”, has been in Indian custody since 2016 and is currently lodged in the coronavirus-infested New Delhi’s Tihar Jail.
“The Indian authorities have now put her on trial for trumped up charges of criminal conspiracy, waging war, sedition, promoting enmity, prejudice to national integration, inciting violence, conspiring/attempting an act of terror and being a member of a ‘terrorist gang’,” the Pakistani envoy said in his letter.
“All necessary requirements of due process have been set aside, and the trial is being deliberately accelerated, reflecting true intentions of the Indian Government,” he said.
“The international community should not contemplate the possibility of the summary execution of a human rights defender who has spent a lifetime speaking up for the rights of the occupied (Kashmiri) people,” Ambassador Akram added.
He expressed the hope that as defenders of rights of women entrapped in conflict situations, Ms. Patten and Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka would look into Ms. Andrabi’s case and “call on India to drop all fabricated charges against her, and her associates, and provide them complete legal protections, including a right to a free and fair trial conducted under due process”.
“We also expect that you would look into several reported cases of sexual violence and abuse of Kashmiri women and, in line with your mandate, report to the Security Council on the true human rights situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJ&K).”
Ambassador Akram said that India’s crackdown on the legitimate and indigenous freedom movement, and its deliberate targeting of Kashmiri women to consolidate its occupation, could not be overlooked.
“The international community has a moral and legal obligation to protect the human rights of the Kashmiri people including women and girls,” he added.