Weekly Bang-e-sahar Saturday, April 19—25, 2008
BRUSSELS: International Kashmir Alliance vice-president Mumtaz Khan while referring to Pakistan’s policy on Gilgit-Baltistan said there is hardly any instance in the world where a disputed territory or region’s political, social and economic rights have been suspended or denied till its final solution.
Speaking at the Brussels conference, he said the socio-economic, political and constitutional conditions of all three regions, Srinagar, Muzafarabad and Gilgit Baltistan need to be debated and claims of the respective parties and countries examined in the light of rights conditions, and to determine which region is more backward economically and politically.
I must appreciate the active interest of EU parliament and serious input and contribution it has made by adopting report on Kashmir under the title of “Kashmir, present conditions and future prospects, pointing out the economic disparities, social injustice and constitutional discrimination in Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. “I must congratulate the author of the report, Madam Baroness Emma Nicholson, for her active interest and deep understanding about the condition of this region that reflected in her detailed report. She has pinpointed existing political and socio-economic inequalities, injustices and deficiencies that have had deep and serious impact on the people of the region that need to be changed and improved if Pakistan wants to address these inequalities and disparities. But unfortunately, even after this report the Pakistani authorities continue to misrepresent the people within and outside Pakistan and Kashmir by distorting the facts.
The purpose of holding this conference exclusively on Gilgit Baltsitan is entirely aimed to invite your attention, agitate your genuine interest and direct your focus on this neglected, marginalized and deprived northern region of the divided state of Jammu and Kashmir that affects the lives of two million inhabitants. This discourse must focus and grasp the reality and magnitude of severity that has haunted this region and its people since Pakistan took control on the region. We must ask you to take genuine interests in advancing and supporting the legitimate interests of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Human rights are universal beyond religion, region, sex, language ethnicity, tribe and clan. But Pakistani military rulers abused and violated these rights in the country by arresting and sacking the judiciary, detaining journalists and lawyers. The accountability and governance was widely misused. This practice is not limited to Pakistan but also exercised in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir and Giligit Baltstan. The constitutional constraints are used to restrict the access of political opponents from participating in the elections. They have systematically changed the multi-cultural character of the Kashmir under its control; first when tribal invaded the state and last during the recent militancy they tried to change the Indian valley into the monolithic state. They are changing the multi-ethnic and sectarian character of Gilgit Baltistan by changing its demography and tolerant religious character
Pakistan should take immediate steps to end the constitutional and political injustices in Gilgit Baltistan.