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Pakistani secret agency behind murder of prominent Kashmiri leader Arif Shahid
Institute for Gilgit Baltistan Studies Institute for Gilgit Baltistan Studies
Washington DC , DC
Tuesday, May 14, 2013


On May 14, 2013 Sardar Arif Shahid, a great leader of Pakistan controlled Kashmir, who also held the chair of Jammu & Kashmir National Liberation Conference (JKNLC) and All Parties National Alliance (APNA) was murdered in Pakistani city of Rawalpindi. The political leadership of Gilgit Baltistan and Kashmir are accusing Pakistani secret agencies for this cold blooded murder. He was shot dead from close range in front of his house on Adiyala Road in Rawalpindi. It is reported that a car carrying the assailant arrived in front of his house exactly at the time when he was leaving his home in his vehicle. The assailants blocked his way and fired gun shots at him. Mr. Shahid died on the spot while the assailants escaped from the scene and remain at large.  


Arif Shahid, who is the author of dozens of books pertaining to freedom struggle in Kashmir, was one of the most senior leaders of Pakistani Kashmir and an outspoken person who hled sentiments of freedom for Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistani controlled Kashmir, also known as Azad Kashmir. APNA is a conglomerate of fourteen political parties of Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistani Kashmir and demand freedom and withdrawal of Pakistani troops from both regions. All members of APNA have condemned the gruesome murder of a great leader. Gilgit Baltistan National Congress, based in Washington DC has decided to hold protest in front of White House and Pakistani Embassy condemning the role of Pakistani authorities in this slaughter.

For some years, his name was put on the Exit Control List (ECL) and he was barred from leaving Pakistan for international advocacy trips. His name was recently removed from ECL by the order of High Court but his surveillance remained thorough and strict, and officials continued to harass him and his family. He continued to receive threatening phone calls till his last breath for his freedom related activism.

Few months ago, he was arrested and tortured in Mirpur along with two political leaders of Indian controlled Kashmir who had come to Pakistani Kashmir on a valid visa. He was later released due to huge protests that covered entire Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. 

Mr. Arif Shahid's killing is act of state terrorism. Pakistani authorities cannot silence genuine voices raised to highlight legitimate issues of freedom and empowerment. He was the leading voice opposing militancy and terrorism in Kashmir. Like in Balochistan, Pakistani secret agencies are involved in detention, torture, rape and murder of innocent people of Gilgit Baltistan and Kashmir. He was the voice and hope of liberal forces in Pakistan controlled Kashmir and he never compromised on his views. All political groups of Kashmir demand that the judiciary should investigate the cold blooded murder and arrest the culprits immediately.

Today Kashmir has lost another leader and Gilgit Baltistan has lost a sincere friend. We stand in solidarity with the bereaved family, JKNLC, his friends and the Kashmiri nation.

He struggled for freedom of Kashmir and led a democratic indigenous struggle for the liberation of his motherland from Pakistan and India. He envisioned a free, democratic, progressive, secular, and prosperous federation of Kashmir.

He always recognized and respected separate national identity of Gilgit Baltistan. On many occasions he visited Gilgit Baltistan and played key role in the formation of APNA, a conglomeration of progressive nationalist groups of Pakistan administered Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.

Arif Shahid's ideals for which he sacrificed his life will always remain guiding principles for the future generations of Kashmir and will always lead the struggle of freedom and justice.

Senge Sering
Institute for Gilgit Baltistan Studies
Washington DC, DC
202 689 0647
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