Gilgit-Baltistan disputed part of Jammu Kashmir’


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

 

Balawaristan National Front (BNF) Chairman Abdul Hamid Khan has said Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan) is a disputed part of Jammu & Kashmir which is also a most deprived and neglected part of the world

Speaking at the Brussels conference, he said, “I am taking this opportunity to introduce my country Balawaristan and enlighten you that geographically the region occupies strategic significance in periphery of Pakistan under its control known as Northern Areas, but historically known as Brooshaal/Bloristan, Dardistan or Gilgit Baltistan, we call it Balawaristan. We also reserve our right over Pakistan occupied Chitral and Shenaki Kohistan, China Occupied Shimashaal and Ladakh (including Aksaichin), which are part and parcel of Balawaristan.”

This area comprises over two million inhabitants and spreads over 28,000 square miles, which came under Pakistan’s control on 16th Nov. 1947 as a result of local uprising against the then Maharajah (Ruler) of Jammu & Kashmir.

Now I want to draw your kind attention towards my cpmpalin with regret that all the invitees from Balawaristan and PoK of this conference were not given visas by Belgium Embassy at Islamabad, while on the other hand dozens and dozens Pakistani nationals disguised themselves as Kashmiris were given visas for another conference which just ended here a week ago. We do not expect such injustice from a democratic country which is the center of European Union.

UNCIP resolutions.

TRUCE TERMS 28 APRIL 1949

“Pending a final solution, the territory evacuated by the Pakistani troops will be administered by the local authority under the surveillance of the commission.”

Pakistan agreed to withdraw all its forces and armed personnel, tribesmen and citizens from the state of Jammu & Kashmir including Balawaristan within a period of 7 weeks.” But later on UNCIP accepted the request of Pakistan to extend the period of withdrawal to three months{ (12 weeks)  while, India agreed for withdrawal of bulk of its forces subject to the complete withdrawal of all Pakistani forces and civilians (Pathans of Frontier Province of Pakistan) and other Pakistani citizens who were not the citizens of Jammu & Kashmir State including Balawaristan (Occupied Gilgit Baltistan).

GENERAL PROVISION OF UNCIP: . The territory evacuated by Pakistan troops will be administered by the local authority under the surveillance of the commission.

B. Immediately upon the acceptance of these terms, the commission would enter in consultation with the government of India regarding the disposal of the Indian and state armed forces and with the local authorities regarding the disposal of the armed forces in the territory to be evacuated by Pakistani troops, with a view to initiating implementations of point 4 (A) and (B) of the commission’s resolution of 5th January, 1949.

C. If before expiration of the seven weeks contemplated in point II.A decisions are reached in the consultations for the initial implementation referred to in III.B above the schedule of withdrawal of the Pakistan Army as provided for II.A above may be extended to three months in order to facilitate the implementation of decision relating to point 4 (b) of the commission’s resolution of 5th January, 1949.

D. It will be made publicly known throughout the state of Jammu & Kashmir that peace, law and order will be safeguarded and that all human and political rights will be guaranteed.

II. WITHDRAWAL OF TROOPS

A. The Government of Pakistan agrees:

1. To withdraw its troops from the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir in seven weeks as follows:

(a) During the first three weeks twenty infantry battalions plus the corresponding proportion of artillery and supporting units.

(b) During the following fortnight the remainder of the Pakistan troops with the exception of eight infantry battalions.

(c) By the end of the seventh week, all Pakistan troops, including their ammunition, stores and material, will have left the territory of the State.

2. That, having secured the withdrawal of the tribesmen from the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, it shall secure the withdrawal of Pakistan nationals still in the territory of the State and not normally resident therein, who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting. B. The Government of India agrees:

1. To withdraw the bulk of its forces from the State of Jammu and Kashmir in stages submitted by the Commission for the agreement of the Government of India. The withdrawal will begin as soon as the Commission shall have notified the Government of India that the tribesmen and Pakistan nationals, not normally resident in Jammu and Kashmir territory who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting, have been withdrawn, and that the Pakistan troops are being withdrawn from the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

2. That the schedule of the withdrawal of Indian forces will be made public by the Commission with the schedule of the withdrawal of Pakistan forces immediately after the acceptance of these terms by both Governments.

C. The operations mentioned in the above paragraphs A and B will be carried out under the surveillance of the Commission through its Military Adviser.

III. GENERAL PROVISIONS

A. The territory evacuated by the Pakistan troops will be administered by the local authorities under the surveillance of the Commission.

B. Immediately upon the acceptance of these terms, the Commission would enter into consultations with the Government of India regarding the disposal of the Indian and State armed forces, and with the local authorities regarding the disposal of the armed forces in the territory to be evacuated by Pakistan troops, with a view to initiating implementation of point 4 (a) and (b) of the Commission’s resolution of 5 January 1949.

C. If, before expiration of the seven weeks contemplated in point II. A., decisions are reached in the consultations for the initial implementation referred to in III. B. above, the schedule of withdrawal of the Pakistan Army, as provided for in II. A. above, may be extended to three months in order to facilitate the implementation of decisions relating to point 4 (b) of the Commission’s resolution of 5 January 1949.

D. All prisoners of war will be released within one month.

E. All land mines will be immediately lifted by the side which sowed them.

F. It will be made publicly known throughout the State of Jammu and Kashmir that peace, law and order will be safeguarded and that all human and political rights will be guaranteed.

G. These terms are without prejudice to the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

H. These terms do not prejudice the functions and powers of the Plebiscite Administrator. I. These terms will become effective and will be published by the Commission immediately upon their acceptance by both Governments.

The report of the Commission sets forth the three most important obstacles which balked its efforts to reach agreement:

(a) Disposal of Azad Kashmir forces,

(b) Withdrawal of regular forces from the State, and

(c) The northern area.

This is the ONLY area of the 21st century,

WHERE  two million people have no representation, no Judiciary, no democracy, no human rights, no basic rights, no freedom of expression and no freedom of movement:

REPRESENTATION

Politically, the area remains largely unrepresented since 16th Nov. 1947 after a passage of 3066 weeks and 6 days, instead of 12 weeks, which were fixed by UNCIP. We do not find anybody that could be called the representative body elected for legislation and administration. This region has no representation in Pakistan or India nor in Jammu and Kashmir neither it has its own representative assembly.

JUDICIARY

Fauzia Saleem Abbas, a local lady and ex-member of Northern Areas Council had filed a writ petition (Petition No 11 and 17 of 1994 through Al Jehad Trust of Pakistan) in the Supreme Court of Pakistan against the denial of basic Human Rights to the people of occupied Balawaristan (Gilgit Baltistan) in 1994.

The apex court said the Chief Court Northern Areas shall exercise all powers and perform all functions which were being performed by the Court of Judicial Commissioner being the highest court of judicature in the Northern Areas.

Due to international pressure, security agencies activated this file after five  years. The Supreme Court revealed that Pakistan had deprived the people of the area of their basic rights since 1947. Pakistan government was instructed by Supreme Court to make arrangements through amendment in the constitution to grant basic human rights and the right to govern, to the people of this region.

I appreciate the Supreme Court of Pakistan for its confession regarding denial of all rights but at the same time, I regret that the highest court   might not have thoroughly gone through the records of the UN resolutions. According to UNCIP, Pakistan government cannot make any amendments in its constitution.

Judiciary is another sector that doesn’t exist as full and independent  judiciary in Gilgit Baltistan. There are two courts, called Chief Court and Appellant court, whose members (not called Judges) are appointed by the Pakistani minister for Kashmir and Northern Affairs on contract basis.

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

Freedom of expression or fundamental freedoms occupy centrality in the domain human rights that are linked with each other that can’t be separated or selective, and can only be ensured when there is independent Judiciary and free media, transparent political process guaranteed by the constitution of that land. As I have tried to elaborate above about the condition of Judiciary and constitutional position of Gilgit Baltistan that completely determine political course of Pakistan controlled Areas.

There is no freedom of expression. More than 200 political leaders, workers and religious people were tortured, sent behind bars and many were killed, when they dared to express their views against Pakistani occupation.

Whereas, media was never allowed to function and flourish as authorities have widely been discouraging any attempt to launch any indigenous independent media in Gilgit Baltistan. Numerous instances victimization and banning of the weekly and monthly magazines have been reported by the Pakistan based media and complaints were lodged in the UN human rights commission in Geneva many times.

There was one independent local newspaper, Kargil International, which was banned and its Chief Editor Engineer Manzoor Hussain Parwana and Editor Agha Shehzad were arrested and charged in sedition case. Chief Editor of Weekly K2 (now Daily K2) was arrested and his  his advertisement blocked to compel him to write according to the direction of the agencies.. His dues were released and charges were withdrawn, when he changed his motto and did what he was dictated. A book Titled “LAST COLONY OF 21st CENTURY” was banned, which was written by Abdul Hamid Khan, Chairman Balawaristan National front. “KARGIL INTERNATIONAL” which was printing stories of those killed from Balawaristan  in Kargil War 1999 and was vocal about the way government of Pakistan portrayed local soldiers of NLI as Mujahideen. Sedition charges have been registered against him and his editor Shehzad Agha and they are under serious threat..  The editor, reporters and hawkers of another Weekly Bang-e-Sahar (Urdu) are being harassed by Pakistani agencies and its agents. There is no freedom for the media. All the news papers and their journalists are under threat of Pakistan agencies.

Recently a journalist, Sharf-Ud-Din was brutally tortured by Police in Gilgit, as a result he was admitted in Hospital. Journalists working for print and electronic media are continuously being harassed by law enforcement agencies when they expressed their dissent against the government policies in Gilgit-Baltistan. During the last year the house of Gilgit Press Club’s president Khurshid Ahmad was bombed thrice to intimidate him when he asserted that the local journalists would not print the controversial material of different militant organisations. In October 2005, the bureau chief of Karakorum Publishing Network Manzar Shigri was detained by the rangers when he insisted to take a snap of an injured person outside DHQ hospital Gilgit. The local newspapers are denied advertisements whenever they criticized government policies or working of different government departments.

The government continued with its policy of banning on unions. In 2004 the local administration banned the Northern Areas Lecturers Association in education department. In addition to this, the government banned trade unions and association in government departments, such as NAPWD, Northern Areas Transport Cooperation and Pakistan Post Office.

DEMOCRACY

The Area remains void of genuine political representation since the establishment of Pakistan’s control on 16th Nov 1947. No credible political institution could be evolved in last 61 years except some dummy NAsC had been created in 1970s when people serious grievances began to surface in the political form as a result of continued denial to right to represent through election. However, its name had been changed in to NALC (Northern Areas Legislative Council) in spite of so called NALC, political domain is completely controlled and run by the Pakistan minister, KANA, who heads this NALC and assume all superior, administrative, Judicial and Financial powers that turned this political body. Again General Musharraf again changed its name NALC to NALA (Northern Areas Legislative Assembly) and now NALA into mockery because the same Minister of KANA Division Islamabad exercises all powers and can dissolve this elected body when he wishes so, as it was the same practice since 1971. NALA has no power for legislation, it can only submit its RESOLUTION to the Minister based in Islamabad who is not representative of this land, it’s his discretionary power, whether he accepts NALA’s resolution or not. But the name of this elected body is LEGISLATIVE in the papers only.

Attorney General of Pakistan Ch. Muhammad Farooq in S. Court

STATE SUBJECT RULE

Pakistan has been violating State Subject rule (which was introduced by the Hindu ruler of Jammu & Kashmir to protect the economy, history and culture of the indigenous people) , as a result Pakistan has almost changed the demography of this disputed part by settling its own national (Pakistani Afghan, Chinese and other foreign national) by violating UNCIP resolutions.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Human rights abuses are widespread and common in Gilgit Baltistan for many decades but unfortunately the absence of local free media, independent judiciary, misrepresentation and distortion of facts have helped the Islamabad to hide its illicit practices normally carried out in the disguise of political authority. Large population faces severe human rights abuses that encompass political, religious, ethnic and economic biases. This disputed area faces serious and widespread discrimination in the form of economic, social and political spheres.

There is no Human Rights Organization in this part of the world. Human Right Commission of Pakistan has prepared a report only last year, but that was also partially true, because of its interest with Pakistan, it does not reflect the actual demand and inspiration of the indigenous people. Its irony that World famous Human Rights organizations do not give any attention towards this most neglected area. This is the only part of the world, where Human Rights are 100 percent violated, because the local indigenous people have no right to appeal in any court against any Human rights Violations. More than 200 political activists and leaders of this land including me are facing sedition charges of Pakistani section 124 A, because we dared to protest against Pakistani occupation in peaceful public gathering. In real term, Pakistan has no right to impose its rules and regulation over this disputed part of J&K, because of the UNCIP resolutions.

The International Crisis Group (ICG) has issued a bleak report on Gilgit and Baltistan, highlighting what it called the “embittered” feelings of the area’s inhabitants because of Islamabad’s “unwillingness” to devolve power to its elected representatives.

HRCP (Pakistan) Report Sept 2006: The people of Northern Areas (NAs) are seeking an end to the long ambiguity over their constitutional status, access to basic rights and an end to unrest, sectarian violence and sense of uncertainty currently prevailing in the region, said a report of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on Northern Areas.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

The intensity of oppression can be understood that government declared Schools and Public buildings as Jail when jails were insufficient to accommodate the detainees. Still more than 100 Shia Muslims (whose fault is to protest peacefully against the bias Islamic Syllabus) are languishing in School since 2005, when they protest against Pakistani discrimination. The dispute erupted when government decided to teach one sect curriculum in the Schools that created serious opposition from Shia community those were detained and many are still in Jails. Syllabus issue has been created by the occupying regime to divide and rule, otherwise there is no need to teach separate Islamic syllabus in the Schools.

It’s our stand, either no Islamiyat in the government Schools (Islamiyat can be taught in homes or mosques) or common Islamiyat like before 1970s should be re-introduced.

EMPLOYEMENT RATIO: 70 % highest post in Army, Police, Judiciary, Health, Education and almost all the governments departments are given to a minority group , while the rest 30 % posts are given to the majority population by the consecutive Pakistani extremist governments whether its civilian or Military, with the evil design to divide the indigenous people.

FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT

The freedom of movement of the local indigenous people were limited and monitored since Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto the then PM of Pakistan introduced sectarianism among Shia-Sooni in mid seventies after Public broke Gilgit Jail and released the Political leaders.

But this was more tightened when General Zia introduced Jehad against USSR for West. Extremist elements were recruited in occupied Balawaristan like Pakistan in all the institutions including Military, Judiciary, Education, Health etc and this trend Military dictatorship turned more serious mode during General Musharraf Martial Law.

HISTORY/ CULTURE

History is witnessed that people of this region has inherited culture that coexisted with other cultures for centuries as it has been the transit to India and central Asia through silk road instead of this, the local indigenous culture was intact till Pakistanis stepped in. While region being part of State Jammu and Kashmir and its administration and cross cultural interaction has further enriched this old civilization of the regions where different languages, faiths and tribes if have been at war but they collaborated against the enemy when their local culture was in danger. In very difficult time local culture managed to maintain its tolerant and plural essence but since Pakistan took over the administration the ritual, traditions, and civilization continue to decay as political, social and religious freedom has almost been denied to the people. History has been distorted by the communal and sectarian approach largely was advanced under Pakistan control to promote their own agenda by terming it as Islamic identity against the pluralist tolerant society. This is not done with their love for Islam, but this is their evil design to rule over this land by dividing the people in to sectarianism forever.

NATURAL RESOURCES

As Balawaristan was culturally rich it was rich in resources especially in terms of its natural resources. It has many resources from Gold, ruby, Emerald and other precious mines, Iron ore and Uranium besides Tourism. Water is another major source. Pakistan’s major source of water is River Indus, which flows through Balawaristan by destroying its fertile land and forest. But Pakistan pays 6 billion Rupees as Royalty of river Indus to its own province NWFP instead of Balawaristan. This area has rich in natural resources estimated more than 2500021 Billion Rupees Karakorum Highway (KKH) the main trade route of Pakistan with China goes through by destroying our land, forest, natural beauty, culture and history. Pakistan levies Custom tax and all other benefits from this Routes but gives nothing to us. Pakistan ceded our precious land of 2500 Sq. Mile of Shamshaal Hunza to China in 1963 to construct this route. Though Pakistan has no right to give our land to any other country according UNCIP. Unfortunately local authority has no right to extend its claim and demand the share as a result of direct Islamabad’s control major resources are plundered without any royalty, compensation or fair share in the resources.

Pakistani regime even does not spare the lives of the rare endangered animals, like snow leopard, Ibex, wild sheep, eagles, vultures and other animals. Pakistani occupying regime have been killing these animals and birds by using gunship helicopters and other means. On the other hand, Pakistan is planning to build a Dam for its own benefit on this disputed land before the settlement of J & K issue as a result of large area along with its rich culture and history of this part of the world will be submerged. The capacity of this so-called Bhasha Diamar Dam is 7.31 Million Hector, which will not only effect its history, natural beauty but environment, life and resources, as a result more than 80,000 indigenous people will be dislodged. Pakistan again misusing the funds of international community by bribing the forefront leaders of the Anti Dam (Diamar) to build dam by all means.

Before making any dam, the right of the ownership of the local people should be accepted before international community. The owners have the right to sell it on their conditions or not to sell. Pakistani themselves do not allow a Dam (Kalabagh Dam) on their own land, because of its huge destruction but do not bother of the destruction of the people of Diamar and its negative consequences on the whole Balawaristan.

JOB OPPORTUNITY

This area has rich in natural resources estimated more than 2500021 Billion Rupees  of worth (Minerals including Gold, Ruby, Uranium and other precious and semi precious minerals, Water, Tourism, Forest, Karakorum Highway (KKH), Tax, Custom on China Hunza border, Wild Life and Air Routes etc). Although Area is devoid of economic development as majority of the male population has to migrate to Pakistani cities in search of their livelihood, the resources are not in the hands of the local people because of the Pakistani occupation. But whatever, jobs are available in the Area in government sector, people face severe discrimination based on religious and political belief, with the evil intention of Divide and Rule.

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