Pakistan Should Allow Free & Fair Elections in Kashmir: South Asia Democracy Watch

South Asia Democracy Watch (SDW), criticizing Pakistan’s restrictions on nationalist political parties in its administered part of Kashmir for registering in state elections, has demanded to include all parties in the coming election.

In a press release issued in Dallas, Texas, the organization has said all political parties in Azad Kashmir have to sign a statement affirming their loyalty to Pakistan or they are not allowed to participate in the state assembly on July 25.

SDW’s Board of Directors passed a resolution last week saying elections under restrictions are against democratic norms and civil rights of Kashmiris. The Board urged the Pakistan government to cncell conditions and restore the fundamental political rights of the people of Kashmir occupied by India and Pakistan. 

Senior Kashmiri leader and member of the SDW Board, Raja Muzaffar, informed the Board that these restrictions mean denying rights of self-determination to the people of Kashmir, which is also against the United Nations resolutions and constitution of Pakistan.

“Kashmir, including Gilgit, Baltistan, and Ladakh, is a disputed territory, and India and Pakistan have no right to impose political restrictions on its citizens,” he said.

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