An anti-war demonstration of hundreds organised by socialist and left activists in the Jammu and Kashmir National Awami Party (NAP) and National Student Federation (NSF) was attacked by members of the reactionary Islamic Hizb-Ul Mujahadeen today in Kotli, Azad (Pakistani) Kashmir. Kotli has been shelled by the Indian army over the last few days.
Socialist Party Press Statement
Anti-war protestors abducted and tortured by Hizb-Ul Mujahadeen in Kotli, Azad (Pakistani) Kashmir
An NSF member Shezard Mughal was taken hostage and tortured by Hizb-Ul Mujahadeen members and is hospitalised. A local Hizb-Ul Mujahadeen leader fired a revolver directly at the demonstration. Kotli District organiser of NAP Qasim Mughal was beaten up later on in the demonstration when two pick-up truckloads of Mujahadeen members attacked the demo firing Kalashnikovs in the air. NAP and NSF members bitterly criticised police and local administration officials who stood by and did nothing as these attacks took place. Police implied that they would not take action because Hizb-ul Mujahadeen are protected by Pakistani military intelligence, the ISI.
The demonstration was called under the slogans of: "Not to War! No to Terrorism! No to religious sectarianism! Yes to jobs, free education, health and clean water! Down with US imperialism! For youth, workers and peasant unity!" Speakers at the rally after the demo explained that only a united movement of Kashmiri, Indian and Pakistani workers, youth and poor peasants could stop the drive to war.
Press release ends
Jammu and Kashmir National Awami Party
Socialists attacked by Kashmiri Islamic group Hizb-Ul Mujahadeen…Two seriously injured and admitted to hospital…Tensions prevail at the main square in Kotli, Azad (Pakistani) Kashmir where hundreds gathered to condemn the attack.
Hizb-Ul Mujahadeen members took hostage two activists of the Jammu and Kashmir National Awami Party (NAP) and the National Students Federation (NSF). A Hizb-Ul leader, alias "Khichi", attacked activists from NAP and NSF after an anti-war rally organised by NAP- Kotli members. Shezard Mughal, an NSF member was taken hostage and tortured by Hizb-Ul Mujahadeen members.
Later up to fifteen members of Hizb-Ul Mujahadeen attacked a peaceful rally called after the anti-war demonstration and held in the main square in Kotli. These Mujahadeen fired Kalashnikovs to terrorise the rally. During this attack Mujahadeen members attacked and hospitalised NAP district organiser Qasim Mughal.
An emergency meeting of NAP and NSF activists condemned the terrorists and thugs belonging to Hizb-Ul Mujahadeen and also the local administration and police apathy in refusing to deal with this matter.
Kotli (Azad Kashmir) Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party members here in Kotli and National Student Federation activists organised a "Stop the war" rally on Saturday 8 June. This city has seen increased shelling over the last few days. A member of Hizb-Ul-Mujahadeen, alias "Khichi", disturbed the peaceful march and threatened participants. Two protestors were abducted and tortured by the same organisation. Later protestors marched through the city putting forward slogans such as "No to war, No to terrorism, No to sectarianism! Yes to jobs, free education, health and clean water! Down with US imperialism! For youth, workers and peasant unity!"
The participants of the demonstration numbering about 150 included school and college students, unemployed young people and workers as well as activists of NAP and NSF.
The marchers gathered at the main crossing in Shaheed Chowk, Kotli where Anwar Khan, President of JKNAP said that "The capitalists for their business interests, with the blessing of the Indian and Pakistani ruling classes have created war tensions. This has not only increased the already dire problems for the workers, poor and oppressed classes nut has brought the region to the brink of a disaster. Thousands of families have been displaced from both sides of the Line of Control as a result of weeks of Indo-Pak shelling. Hundreds of children, women and the elderly have been killed during these shelling barrages. Today it is the need of the hour that pro-peace forces including trade unions, left political organisations in Kashmir, India and Pakistan and throughout the world should play their due role to get rid of the menace of war, capitalism and landlordism in this region and struggle for the genuine social liberation of the mass of the working class and poor" Anwar khan added that NAP and NSF had initiated this process as the first step in developing an anti-war movement. Others who spoke were NAP Kotli District President Ali Asghar, secretary Naeem Khan and Niaz Khan, central leader of NSF.
Please take action now by sending letters of protest to the following individuals as well as demanding to know why nothing was done by the local authorities during these attacks:
General Pervez Musharraf, President & Chief Executive of Pakistan
Mr. Abdul Sattar, Foreign Affairs of Pakistan
Fax :- +92-51-9207217
Mr.Abbas Sarfraz Khan, Kashmir Affairs, Northern Areas
Can comrades also please send letters expressing solidarity with NAP and NSF members to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org