Former Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi on Thursday criticized India for sentencing life imprisonment to Kashmiri Hurriyat leader Mohammad Yasin Malik saying “false charges leveled against him will not stop Kashmir’s fight for independence”.
On Wednesday, NIA court sentenced Mohammad Yasin Malik to life imprisonment in a militancy funding case.
Afridi also urged the United Nations to take note of the “unjust and illegitimate trials being conducted against Kashmiri leaders”.
Taking to Twitter, Shahid Afridi wrote, “India’s efforts to suppress critics who speak out against the country’s flagrant violations of human rights have failed. The false charges leveled against Yasin Malik will not stop Kashmir’s fight for independence. Inviting the UN to take note of the unjust and illegitimate trials being conducted against Kashmiri leaders.”
Earlier, ahead of the court decision, the lawyer who attended the court proceeding said, in the courtroom, “Yasin said that if I have been involved in any terrorist activity or violence in 28 years, if Indian Intelligence proves this, then I will also retire from politics. I will accept the hanging. With seven Prime Ministers, I have worked.”
On the demand by NIA for the death penalty to the Hurriyat leader, Malik said, “I will not beg for anything. The case is before this court and I left on the court to decide it.”
“I have already given me words in the court and now it is on the court discretion,” he said.
The lawyer representing NIA on Wednesday sought maximum punishment against Malik. However, Advocate Akhand Pratap Singh (court-appointed amicus) sought minimum punishment (life imprisonment).
In the last hearing, Malik had withdrawn his lawyer as he pleaded guilty. The Kashmiri Hurriyat leader has been charged with “hatching a criminal conspiracy, waging war against the country”, other unlawful activities, and disturbing peace in Kashmir.
He had pleaded guilty in the matter. On the last date of the hearing, he told the court that he was not contesting the charges levelled against him, including section 16 (militant act), 17 (raising funds for the militant act), 18 (conspiracy to commit militant act), and 20 (being member of a militant organisation) of the UAPA and sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 124-A (sedition) of the Indian Penal Code.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s former President Imran Khan said in a media interview that Mohammad Yasin Malik is a “freedom fighter”. He added that Malik can never be called a ‘terrorist’.
Earlier this week, the Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif condemned the Malik’s conviction and termed charges leveled by Indian court against the Hurriyat leader “fictitious and fabricated”.
The Senate of Pakistan also passed a resolution urging the international community to force India to drop all “fabricated charges” against all political leaders of Kashmir including Malik, and ensure their safety and well-being.
In a tweet, Sharif said, “Pakistan rejected India’s failed tactics against Yasin Malik, who was a symbol of unparalleled bravery and freedom”. He urged the international community, including the United Nations and the Human Rights Council, to take note of India’s extrajudicial measures.
The Pakistan PM said the government of Pakistan would highlight India’s actions against Malik and other Kashmiri leaders at all international forums, including human rights bodies and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.