Letter to UN rapporteur highlights extrajudicial killing of AJK prisoner in IIOJK

Islamabad, November 02 (KMS): Kashmir Institute of International Relations (KIIR) Chairman, Altaf Hussain Wani in a letter addressed to the UN Special rapporteur on extrajudicial and summary executions appealed him to take notice of the extrajudicial killing of a prisoner of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Zia Mustafa by Indian forces and hold India accountable for the war crimes being committed by its troops in occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

In the letter Altaf Wani said that Zia Mustafa’s murder is a clear violation of international laws and agreements between Pakistan and India. He was imprisoned in Kotbhalwal jail, Jammu, and was taken out of the jail and brought to forests in Poonch by the Indian troops and was subsequently killed in firing.

He said, the killing of Mustafa under mysterious circumstances at a location far away from the prison is yet another sickening chronicle and a dastardly practice of extra-judicial killing of prisoners in fake encounters by the Indian forces.

The letter goes as:

Excellency,

Mr. Zia Mustafa was killed in a fake encounter by the Indian armed forces personnel in the Poonch area of the Indian administered Kashmir. Mustafa, a resident of Rawalakot, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, had been languishing in Jammu’s Kot Bhalwal jail for the last 18 years since he was arrested by the Indian police in 2003 after crossing the LoC inadvertently. Zia was facing trial before district court Shopian where the state failed to produce any single evidence against him.

The trial court closed the prosecution evidence and accordingly State of Jammu Kashmir filed the criminal appeal before Jammu Kashmir High court, Srinagar Wing which was also dismissed. The state of Jammu Kashmir filed Criminal Appeal 39899/2018 with condonation of delay application In Zia Mustafa’s Case before Supreme Court India (SC) and in its order SC “condoned the delay in filing the writ petition”. (Application Enclosed)

On 23 Oct 21, he was taken out from the jail and rushed down to the woods in Bhatta Durian area of Poonch district where he was killed during a so-called cordon and search operation that has been going on in the area for the past several weeks.

Excellency,

The killing of Mustafa under mysterious circumstances at a location far away from the prison is yet another sickening chronicle and a dastardly practice of extra-judicial killing of prisoners in fake encounters by the Indian forces. His murder is a clear violation of international laws and agreements between Pakistan and India.

The government of India has miserably failed in protecting the basic rights of the prisoners. Instead of protecting their lives and ensuring every prisoner a safe environment the Indian government especially its security apparatus in Kashmir have been engaged in a shameless practice of making these vulnerable prisoners as scapegoats to hide their fiasco.

Excellency,

These dastardly acts of violence, which continue to haunt Kashmiris, have been happening continually in the region and have now become a regular feature of their routine life. Since 1990, more than seven thousand (7000) custodial deaths have been reported from the troubled state, whereas during the past one and half year, 37 cases of custodial deaths have been reported in
Kashmir valley alone.

Excellency,

The rampant extra-judicial killings are a reflection of the growing threat of the prolonged conflict and its devastating impacts on the local population. It is high time that the international community should take notice of the matter and hold India accountable for the war crimes being committed by its forces in Kashmir.

Excellency,

The KIIR has consistently stressed the need for an independent investigation into such bloody incidents of violence in the disputed region (Indian administered Jammu and Kashmir). As we believe that such dastardly incidents of violence would continue to recur and bruise hearts of minds of Kashmiris unless the Indian state is held accountable for the crimes its forces have been committing in Kashmir.

Excellency,

While seeking your urgent attention towards the cold-blooded murder of Zia Mustafa, the KIIR reiterates its call for a credible and transparent investigation into the incident to ensure justice, and hold the perpetrators accountable.

The KIIR also urges your Excellency to influence upon the government of India to fulfill its obligations to ensure the safety, security and humane treatment of all Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails/detention centers pending their release or repatriation.

Altaf Hussain Wani
Chairman, KIIR.