Silencing free speech in Kashmir by India and Pakistan condemned

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London, Apr 20: A human rights group has urged India and Pakistan to lift bans over free speech in Jammu and Kashmir region. “We are concerned over the deteriorating situation of freedom of expression in Kashmir where civil liberties are under extreme threats”, said a statement issued by the Press For Peace (PFP) on Friday. The statement expressed deep concern over recent sanctions on civil liberties imposed by India and Pakistan in disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir. It said that Indian government has harassed and intimated the users of social networking media. It added that the freedom of expression is a cornerstone of democracy and freedoms; however, silencing the political dissidents in Kashmir is against the basic human rights guaranteed by international agreements and United Nations human rights charter. In Indian Jammu and Kashmir authorities have launched a major crackdown’ against Facebook and other social media and various citizens have been questioned for expressing their views about different social and political issues. “Such undemocratic measures should be stopped and people should be given freedom to exercise their basic rights”, it added. The statement also said that Pakistani authorities have already jammed the mobile phone services in Gilgit Baltistan in the wake of recent sectarian killings. “Silencing the modern telecommunications like mobile phones by Pakistani regime in its administrated Gilgit has worsened the public life in the area. The statement urged India and Pakistan to honour the aspirations of the people in order to cultivate the democratic norms and healthy culture of respecting divergent views. It also called upon Islamabad and Delhi to lift all sanctions against free speech in Kashmir.

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