A court in India sentenced Kashmir independence leader Yasin Malik to life imprisonment on May 25 after convicting him on terrorism charges.
India’s National Investigation Agency, which deals with anti-terror crimes, had demanded the death penalty for Malik, but the New Delhi court sentenced him to life in prison instead.
Last week, a court convicted Malik, the 56-year-old leader of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), of terrorism and funding acts of terror.
Malik told the court that he gave up arms in the 1990s.
Malik has spent years in prison after security forces arrested him in 2019 when JKLF was banned.
“We are holding a meeting today in which we will take a decision on what strategy we have to adopt following the life imprisonment of our leader,” JKLF Vice-Chairperson Khawaja Saif Din told AFP News by phone.
“Our group was holding negotiations with the Indian government for the solution of the Kashmir issue. But today India has compelled Kashmiris to again take up arms against it, by using an undemocratic process to award life imprisonment to Yasin Malik,” Din further said.
Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Twitter that it was a “black day for Indian democracy and its justice system.”
Pakistani Foreign Ministry announced that it summoned the Indian Charge d’Affaires in Islamabad and condemned Malik’s conviction and sentencing as “a grossly suspicious and contrived case.”
“The abhorrent Indian attempts seeking to defile the legitimate struggle of the Kashmiris for their right to self-determination as ‘terrorism’ only substantiate India’s deeply etched credentials as a ‘serial violator’ of human rights and usurper of the fundamental freedoms of the Kashmiris,” the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said.
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