London, Aug. 21 : Highlighting the atrocities carried out by Pakistan in Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), the UK-based Kashmiris yesterday staged a protest against the establishment in Islamabad demanding peace and freedom in Kashmir.
During the protest at the Bradfort City Centre in West Yorkshire in Northern England, they raised slogans stating that Gilgit and PoK are an integral part of the princely state of Kashmir.
"We want freedom, we want freedom. Stop killings in Kashmir," they said. One of the protestors, Mahmud Kashmiri, president of the Jammu and Kashmiri Awaami Party, said: "We are here to protest against foreign forces, who are involved in killings in Jammu and Kashmir." Another protestor said that the demonstration was about the atrocities that are being carried out in both parts of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
"The people of Jammu and Kashmir are treated in a very bad manner in both parts. I am 100 percent sure that this is being instigated by Pakistan," he said. Shamina Raja, another protestor, expressing grave concern over the latest incidents in Kashmir demanded that peace should be established in the region at the earliest.
"We have come here for Jammu and Kashmir. Whatever is happening there is unfortunate. I only pray that it should not happen. What we want is that peace should be established there," she said. Carrying posters which read, 'Arif Shahid was murdered because he demanded reunification of Jammu, Kashmir (and) Gilgit-Baltistan', they also demanded justice for the pro-independence Kashmiri leader, who was brutally murdered in Rawalpindi in 2013.
Shahid, who led the All Parties National Alliance (APNA) advocating independence from India and Pakistan, was shot dead by unidentified men near his home in Rawalpindi on May 14, 2013.
He was a vocal critic of Pakistan's alleged role in sending militants to fight a 'proxy war' against India in Indian-administered Kashmir.
He also criticised Pakistan's policy of treating Kashmir as its 'colony'. The Pakistani Government banned him from travelling abroad in 2009 and later confiscated his passport and other identification documents.
The protest comes close on the heels of the July 21 rigged elections in PoK where the protestors blamed Islamabad of indulging in widespread propaganda and killing.
The protestors also stated that genuine voters were not allowed to cast their votes and Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, and others rigged the polls in favour of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's PML (N).
The (PML-N) won 32 out of 41 seats or more than seventy five percent of the seats in the rigged elections.