Pakistan condemns sentencing of Yasin Malik by Indian court in terror funding case

Islamabad, May 25 (PTI) Pakistan on Wednesday condemned the sentencing of Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik by an Indian court in a terror funding case, saying Islamabad will continue to provide all possible support to the Kashmiris.

A Delhi court on Wednesday handed out life sentence to sentenced Malik, one of the foremost separatist leaders of Jammu and Kashmir, saying the crimes were intended to strike at the “heart of the idea of India” and intended to forcefully secede J&K from Union of India.

In a tweet, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said “India can imprison Yasin Malik physically but it can never imprison the idea of freedom he symbolises. Life imprisonment for valiant freedom fighters will provide fresh impetus to Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.”

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who had written to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet asking her to urge India to acquit Malik from all charges, “strongly” condemned the sentencing.

“Pakistan stands with Kashmiri brothers and sisters, will continue to provide all possible support in their just struggle,” he said in a tweet.

Pakistan Army Spokesperson Major General Babar Iftikhar also condemned the life sentence given to Malik on what he called “fabricated charges.”

He said such “oppressive tactics cannot dampen the spirit of people of Kashmir in their just struggle”.

The Foreign Office summoned the Indian Charge d’Affaires here and conveyed Pakistan’s strongest condemnation of the sentence given to Malik.

It said that the international community must take immediate stock of the “aggravating situation” in Kashmir and press India to fulfill its obligations under the international humanitarian law and the Charter of the United Nations.

The Foreign Office in a statement earlier said that the foreign minister, as part of Pakistan’s ongoing efforts to draw the attention of the international community to the situation in Kashmir, sent the letter to Bachelet on May 24.

The Foreign Minister urged the High Commissioner and the Human Rights Council to take immediate cognisance of India’s targeting of indigenous Kashmiri leadership through motivated cases, particularly the treatment meted out by Malik.

Separately, Foreign Minister Bilawal has written a letter to the Secretary-General of the OIC, Hissein Brahim Taha, apprising him of the dire human rights and humanitarian situation in Kashmir.

India has repeatedly told Pakistan that Jammu and Kashmir “was, is and shall forever” remain an integral part of the country. It also advised Pakistan to accept the reality and stop all anti-India propaganda.

New Delhi has also told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Islamabad in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.