Upholding Civil Liberties:A Call for Restraint in Azad KashmirKhawaja Kabir Ahmed (UK)

Upholding Civil Liberties:
A Call for Restraint in Azad Kashmir
Khawaja Kabir Ahmed (UK)

The inherent right to peacefully assemble and express grievances is a cornerstone of any democratic society, a fundamental principle that should be upheld and protected by governments worldwide. In Azad Kashmir, the recent deployment of forces to quell a peaceful people’s rights march towards Muzaffarabad Assembly raises serious concerns about the government’s commitment to these basic democratic values.

The Joint Awami Action Committee’s call for a peaceful march underscores the legitimate concerns of the citizens regarding subsidies on essentials like flour, electricity costs, and the perceived extravagance of bureaucrats. Rather than resorting to heavy-handed tactics, the government must engage constructively with its citizens to address these grievances through dialogue and meaningful reforms.

Deploying forces to crackdown on peaceful demonstrations not only violates the fundamental right to assemble and protest but also risks exacerbating tensions and further eroding trust between the government and its people. Such actions would undoubtedly be perceived as a gross violation of human rights and undermine the credibility of the government both domestically and internationally.

It is imperative that the government refrains from taking any coercive measures and instead focuses on addressing the underlying issues at hand. This requires a commitment to transparency, accountability, and meaningful dialogue with civil society representatives to find sustainable solutions that uphold the rights and dignity of all citizens.

Furthermore, the government must recognize that the eyes of the world are watching. Any excessive use of force or repression of peaceful dissent will not go unnoticed, and could lead to widespread condemnation and protests by overseas Kashmiri communities. Such actions would only serve to isolate the government and damage its reputation on the global stage.

Therefore, we urge the Azad Kashmir government to heed the voices of its citizens, respect their right to peaceful protest, and work towards resolving grievances through peaceful and democratic means. This is not only a matter of upholding human rights but also essential for fostering a more inclusive and just society in Azad Kashmir. The time for dialogue and reconciliation is now

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