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|by R C Ganjoo|
Known for his courage and determination to achieve his objective in political sphere and legal fraternity, not only in India Prof. Bhim Singh’s prudence is today acknowledged by Pakistan.
About Prof. Bhim Singh, a multifaceted person fighting for human cause and justice for innocent and ignorant people of his state Jammu and Kashmir and the country as well,former Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India P.N. Bhagwati has said “I have known Prof. Bhim Singh for a number of years as an indomitable crusader for truth and justice. He possesses rare courage and determination and wherever he is convinced of the truth of the cause espoused by him, he fights with great determination and vigour even at the cost of his personal safety and security”.
Prof. Bhim Singh, Sr. Executive member of Supreme Court of India was honoured by Supreme Court Bar Association, Lahore on May 27 in Pakistan in recognition of his services towards Pakistani prisoners detained in India. Being a Chief of State Legal Aid Committee, Prof Bhim Singh has been pursuing the cases of Pakistan and PoK prisoners in India for the past over 15 years. On the direction of Supreme Court of India repatriation orders for 300 prisoners lodged in Indian jails was passed.
When asked about the impact of his visit to Pakistan he said “The impact of my business should be realised from the reception which the lawyers fraternity and the media persons gave me in Pakistan.” In consultation with Lawyers Congress, Lahore and the Bar Association of Islamabad and Lahore agreed to take up cases of the Indian prisoners in Pakistan jails at their own expenses. However, in reply to a question of POW languishing in Pakistani jails, he said “I have not been able to get comprehensive information concerning the Indian prisoners in Pak jails. I have not been able to find any list or information on the POW from India in Pakistan. This matter needs immediate attention of both the governments at the earliest.”
Bhim Singh was responsible for holding “Heart to Heart Talks” in 2005 and 2007 amongst the leaders and intellectuals of both sides of Jammu and Kashmir, a unique milestone in seeking peaceful resolution of J&K. The resolution passed in these conferences became the basis of opening LoC at Uri-Muzaffrabad and Rawalakote-Kotli etc. “ I will be holding 3rd Intra J&K Heart to Heart Talk in Delhi. I am sure this time we shall hold this talk in J&K as well as in New Delhi” he confirmed.
Unfortunately, due to political or other reasons Bhim Singh was not allowed to enter Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) or Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) areas which is the part of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state . “ I tried my best and several senior POK leaders in the government as well as in the opposition tried their best to enable me to visit POK. Several dignitaries, advocates, educationists and media persons from Mirpur, Kotli, Muzaffrabad etc. came to see me in Islamabad with lot of gifts and bundle of books and letters. I was not allowed to visit any part of POK despite the fact that I was invited by the District Bar Associations of Mirpur, Kotli and Muzaffrabad” saddened Bhim Singh.
During his stay in Islamabad Bhim Singh met POK leadership from all disciplines. He met the Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan Syed Mehdi Shah in Islamabad. But he described it as a tragic that Gilgit-Baltistan has annexed as 5th province of Pakistan. “This is in utter violation of the resolution of the Security Council vis-a-vis J&K about which Pakistan has been beating loud drums for 60 years. There is no reason to discuss political, social or economic status of Gilgit-Baltistan as the entire northern area belonging to State of J&K has been made part of Pakistan., he said . “This area is not even formally kept as part of 'Azad Kashmir' as named by Pakistan. The Indian leadership that governed India since 1957 has never cared to take up the issue before the United Nations whenever the occasion arose. The people of Gilgit has strong resentment against the Indian leadership that India failed to respect their sentiments and allowed Gilgit to fall in the hands of Pakistan, he raised this question. The Gilgit leadership equally blames the leadership of 'PoK' for ignoring the plight of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. “Naming POK as POJK itself proves that India has accepted the present status of Gilgit-Baltistan.” When asked NDA government headed by Narendra Modi a proposal to rename Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) as Pakistan occupied Jammu Kashmir (PoJK).
While answering on controversial issue of abrogation of Article 370 from Indian Constitution , he categorically said “Who stops BJP to abrogate Article 370 from the Indian Constitution. It is a temporary on record and nothing should lose for more than half a century being of temporary nature. Does BJP understand or any member any M.P. know the meaning of Article 370 and its consequential effects on the security and integrity of India as a whole. Let BJP come out with amendment only to empower Parliament to make laws vis-a-vis J&K on the subjects enumerated in the Central List of Schedule-VII of the Constitution of India”
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