Gilgit-Baltistan a political anomaly: Nicholson


Weekly Bang-e-sahar Saturday, April 19—25, 2008

 

BRUSSELS: Member European Parliament Baroness Nicholson described Gilgit and Baltistan region of Pakistan as “a political and constitutional anomaly”.

    “This region of two million people has been under the direct military rule of Islamabad since 1949. Its people lack a functioning democratic assembly; they lack an independent judiciary; they lack even the most basic freedoms. Yet almost nobody knows about it.”

   Baroness Nicholson was speaking at a seminar on the Constitutional, political and socio-economic conditions of Gilgit and Baltistan organised by the International Kashmir Alliance in European Parliament, Brussels.

   The European Parliament’s Rapporteur for Kashmir (2006-07) continued: the real mystery is how this situation has been able to continue for so long without the world noticing.

   The issue of Kashmir rightly attracts global scrutiny. It seems incredible that one of the four parts of the former princely state could have been allowed to fall almost entirely off the map.

    Yet that is exactly what has happened.”

    Baroness Nicholson described the process leading up to the European Parliament’s 2007 Resolution on Kashmir: Present Situation and Future Prospects. “Until a late stage, Pakistan claimed that this region was not a part of Kashmir.

    Today that is no longer said. For the people of the region, however, little or nothing has changed.

    Denied even the limited rights and identity accorded to the inhabitants of Pakistan-administered Azad Jammu and Kashmir, they are a forgotten people living in limbo”.

    Addressing an audience of political leaders, human rights activists and representatives from Kashmir and the Kashmiri Diaspora, she said, “Gilgit and Baltistan, together with the wider issue of Kashmir, is a political test case for new government of Pakistan.”

    Baroness Nicholson was speaking at a seminar on the Constitutional, political and socio-economic conditions of Gilgit and Baltistan organised by the International Kashmir Alliance in European Parliament, Brussels.

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