ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Indian Charge d’ Affaires (Cd’A) in Islamabad was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday and conveyed Pakistan’s strong protest over the inhuman custodial death of Hurriyat leader Altaf Ahmed Shah, who remained imprisoned in the infamous Tihar Jail for the last five years.
It was deplored that despite Pakistan’s expression of serious concerns over Mr. Altaf Ahmed Shah’s sharply deteriorating health as well as his daughter’s letter addressed to the Indian Prime Minister apprising him of Mr. Shah’s precarious health condition, the Indian government remained completely indifferent.
The government of India not only failed to provide satisfactory medical care to Mr. Altaf Ahmed Shah who was suffering from renal cancer but also created inordinate delays in his hospitalization and essential diagnostic tests.
Even more heart-wrenching is the fact that the Indian authorities remained adamant in denying Mr. Shah’s family access to meet him while deliberately delaying the court hearing of his bail plea on humanitarian grounds.
It is evident that Mr. Altaf Ahmed Shah was victimized and punished because he was the son-in-law of revered Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani and a true representative of the Kashmiri people.
His death is the consequence of the Indian government’s wilful and deliberate negligence, utter disregard for human rights and its systematic campaign to suppress and brutalize the Hurriyat leaders.
Recalling the condemnable custodial death of Hurriyat leader Ashraf Sehrai last year, after his victimization and arrest under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA), the Indian Cd’A was conveyed Pakistan’s grave apprehensions regarding the ruthless treatment meted out to Hurriyat leaders including Muhammad Yasin Malik, Massarat Aalam Bhat, Shabbir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Aasiya Andrabi and several others who have been facing illegal detentions in fabricated cases.
Equally concerning is the fact that many of these Hurriyat leaders including Muhammad Yasin Malik are suffering from chronic ailments and require urgent medical attention. It is also alarming that at least 4 Kashmiri political prisoners have died in Indian custody since 2019.
It has been demanded of the Indian government to immediately investigate the custodial death of Mr. Altaf Ahmed Shah and hold to account all those responsible for the brutality.
Pakistan has further demanded that the mortal remains of Mr. Altaf Ahmed Shah be promptly returned to his family so that a proper burial of the deceased in accordance with their wishes can be carried out.
The Indian government has also been called upon to desist from unlawfully keeping the indigenous Kashmiri leadership hostage and denying them their fundamental human rights, immediately halt its state-sponsored terrorism in the IIOJK, release all political prisoners incarcerated on trumped-up charges, stop human rights violations, lift the inhuman military siege and let the people of IIOJK exercise their right to self-determination as enshrined in the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and as per their wishes.