On Wednesday, Special Judge Parveen Singh sentenced Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik to life imprisonment under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) for allegedly funding terrorist activities. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) was in favour of the death penalty, but the court decided to keep Malik in jail for the rest of his life. Pakistani politicians and public icons have expressed their concerns about the inappropriate action against the Kashmiri Hurriyat leader. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shahbaz Sharif, Foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto and the former captain of the Pakistani cricket team, Shahid Afridi, talked about Malik’s arrest and Kashmir’s current situation.
Yasin Malik Refuses the Allegations
Yasin Malik refused the allegations and charges, including terrorist act (Section 16), funds raising for a terrorist act (Section 17), conspiracy to commit terrorist activities (Section 18), and being a member of a terrorist group or organization (Section 20) of the UAPA and criminal conspiracy (Sections 120-B) and 124-A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code.
The head of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) also stated before the special judge that he had been nonviolent and followed the Gandhian principles. The leader has always practised nonviolent politics after removing arms and weapons from the equation in the 1990s.
Strong Reaction from Pakistani Prime Minister
The separatist insurgency in Kashmir against Indian rule started after a 1988 bomb attack by the JKLF in Srinagar. Several media reports claimed that initially, Pakistan supported the uprising but later withdrew support and backed militants who wanted Kashmir to be ascended to Pakistan. As a result, the JKLF was split between pro-Pakistan groups and Indian security forces. Then by 1990, JKLF was completely broken down, with various leaders making their own factions. Some of these factions also abandoned the use of militancy to seek Kashmir’s freedom.
However, Indian forces continued to portray all JKLF members as terrorists, inviting condemnation from Kashmiri rights advocates. Pakistan also came forward with its support for Yasin Malik. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that Indian forces could imprison Malik, but they would not imprison his Idea. He reckoned that this wrongful imprisonment would further inspire freedom fighters rather than intimidate them.
Shahid Afridi Urges United Nations To Take Notice
Former Pakistani Cricketer Shahid Afridi is known for speaking up whenever the Kashmir issue is involved. He has occasionally faced the wrath of Indian cricketers on social media for his hard stance on Kashmir. This time he again raised his voice and accused the Indian government of silencing critics who highlight its human rights abuses. He urged the United Nations to notice how India conducted unfair trials against Kashmiri leaders. He added that fabricated charges against Yasin Malik would not deter Kashmir’s fight for freedom.
Wife Appeals Kashmir to Continue Struggle
Mushaal Hussein Mullick, the wife of Yasir Malik, also called on the international authorities after alleging that Indian authorities influenced the court decision against her husband. She vowed to take the case at all levels and urged Kashmiri people to keep raising their voices for her husband’s release.
She claimed to continue fighting for freedom against barbaric Indian authorities till her last breath, and then her 10-year-old daughter will continue after her.