Dukhtaran-e-Millat founder has been detained since 2018 on charges of sedition and other ‘unlawful activities’
Pakistan has urged the U.N. chief to push India to drop “fabricated charges” against Aasiya Andrabi, the founding leader of Kashmir’s Dukhtaran-e-Millat (Daughters of the Nation) organization and prevent her “judicial murder.”
In a letter addressed to U.N. Secretary General Antonio Gutteres, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Munir Akram said that the world must stop giving a “free pass” to India over its “systemic crackdown of the legitimate and indigenous freedom movement in Kashmir.”
Highlighting the Indian judiciary’s unwillingness to stand up for the rights of Kashmiris, Akram said there was 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.” He also urged the global body to take action. “The international community cannot allow this summary execution of a human rights defender who has spent a lifetime speaking up for the rights of the occupied people,” he said.
In his letter, the envoy called on the secretary-general to “urge India to drop fabricated charges against Ms. Andrabi, her husband and her associates, and provide her complete legal protections, including the right to free and fair trial conducted under due process.” He also urged the U.N. chief to:
- Urge India to immediately halt its persecution of political leaders, activists and human rights defenders;
- Immediately release the incarcerated Kashmiri political leadership and allow them to freely express the wishes of the Kashmiri people;
- Demand India hold accountable the officials responsible for arbitrary arrests, inhumane treatment, torture and illegal detention under a U.N.-sponsored, independent investigation;
- Remove draconian laws enabling Indian occupation forces to continue perpetrating human rights violations with impunity;
- Call on the U.N.’s human rights machinery to look into the cases of Andrabi and other human rights defenders, and ask India to grant U.N. observers, international human rights and humanitarian organizations and international media access to Kashmir to independently ascertain the situation;
- Call on India to stop branding the indigenous movement calling for the freedom of Kashmiri people, led by people like Andrabi, as terrorism.
Andrabi, commonly known as the “Iron Lady of Kashmir,” has been in the custody of Indian forces since 2016. Her organization, which is part of the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference, primarily seeks the separation of Kashmir from India. In 2018, she was moved from Srinagar to New Delhi by the National Investigation Agency and booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for sedition.
“The ultimate objective of the BJP-RSS regime is to crush Kashmiris’ just struggle for freedom, and to permanently alter the demography of the occupied territory—making it a wholly Hindu-dominated region,” read Ambassador Akram’s letter. He claimed this ominous “Final Solution” was being implemented with the full force of India’s state. “The crackdown on all voices of dissent and [attempt to] crush the legitimate Kashmiri freedom movement has been intensified,” he said, adding all fundamental freedoms and basic human rights remain abrogated, with thousands of Kashmiri men, including children, have been detained, with some disappearing with no trace.