weekly bang-e-sahar saturday june 14 -june 20 2008
By Our Correspondent
Chairman Balawaristan National Front (BNF) Abdul Hamid Khan has asked Pakistan to change its double standard on Gilgit-Baltistan, saying as a nation we are not against the integrity of Pakistan but oppose its occupation of Gilgit-Baltistan.
In his telephonic address to a public gathering at Gahkuch on June 8, he said Pakistan’s stand on the issue has been different as far as its own public and national media are concerned than the one it propagates to the international community. Sometimes Pakistani regimes denied us our due rights on the pretext of sensitivity of our country (Balawaristan) and sometimes on the pretext of Kashmir dispute and its own constitution. Despite this, if anyone dared to raise any question or challenge their occupation, Pakistan tried to eliminate such people from its way.
“I want to let you know that I never keep my nation in dark by making cheap and emotional statements. I always try to clear my stand according to the international laws and principles. Our stand does not only fulfil UNO but also matches with the legal stand of Pakistan. But this is ironic that Pakistan has always discouraged our peaceful and democratic struggle, whether it’s so-called democratic government or military dictatorship. This was not because our stance was illegal but because of the double standard of the government of Pakistan itself. The stand of Pakistan to its public and national media has been different than its international and legal stand. Sometimes Pakistani regimes denied us our due rights on the pretext of sensitivity of our country (Balawaristan) and sometimes on the pretext of Kashmir dispute and its own constitution. Despite this, if anyone dared to raise any question or challenge their occupation, Pakistan tried to eliminate such people from its way. This was the reason my life was under threat when I brought its inhuman treatment and illegal occupation to the UN and other member countries of the democratic world. Our bosses (not our rulers, because we never cast any vote for them) do not like the bitter truth and whoever speaks the truth they use bullet to silence their voice, like what they did with the 80-year-old Baloch leader Nawab Akbar Bugti. Government of Pakistan also wants to eliminate me forever because I am the one who presents the true face of Pakistani occupation forces in Balawaristan (occupied Gilgit-Baltistan) to the international community.
As you know that I did not leave the country to save my life as well that of the two million enslaved people of this region. I have to inform the international community about the misery caused due to the illegal occupation of Pakistan since 16th Nov. 1947. This will be your assessment and you are the judge whether I have been able to put your case in good direction or not.
I would like to tell something about religious or sectarian violence. This is a kind of disease which has been injected into the bodies of our nation after our people stood united against the occupation of Pakistan and its ill-treatment and undemocratic behaviour since 1971. The late national leader of Punyal Fazlur Rahamn Alamgir and Adv Sher Wali, who is luckily present among you, were released from Jail by breaking it by the public when we were united without religious and sectarian differences. Since then Pakistani occupying regime and its intelligence agencies have been creating sectarian tension among us. As a result, hundreds of innocent people have lost their lives but no one has been given punishment even for a single day so far. The reason for giving a free hand to the murderers and conspirators is that the murderers and the conspirators were the same, the occupation regime. How a killer and conspirator can deliver judgment against himself? This is the reason behind our 60 years long slavery. Our motherland has become the last colony of 21st century. We don’t have any share and any right to say anything in our house (motherland). We were innocent and simpleton, that is why we we quarreled with each other on sectarian basis and our enemies ruled us without hindrance. Today we have no control on our water resources, our mountains and plains. Our resources are plundered by Pakistani occupying regime which does not face any challenge from us, because we don’t fight them and we don’t have any institutional or representative body to challenge their authority.
I appeal to my brothers not to involve themselves in any kind of crime like killing on religious or sectarian basis. If we need to control our properties and motherland we should not kill anyone on the basis of religious differences even if anyone provokes us. If you kill anyone it means you are fulfilling the evil design of our enemy who wants to divide us by sectarian clashes and then rule on us without any hindrance.
Some people blame us that we are anti-Pakistan and want to break Pakistan. This is wrong and misinterpretation created by intelligence agencies and their puppets. As a country we are not against Pakistan. But we are against the illegal occupation of Pakistan and its wrong policies since 16 Nov. 1947.
I sent congratulation to the Pakistan Muslim League N and Pakistan People’s Party, when they won the recent elections against the military dictator. This is because we support democracy and do not support dictatorship and monarchy and kingdom throughout the world. This congratulation to Pakistani political parties does not mean that we have changed our stand and accepted the illegal occupation and atrocities of Pakistan. NO NEVER.
We don’t take any plea for making dispute our motherland with the J&K. This was Pakistan which has made this area a disputed part of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) for its own interest. This was Pakistan’s long stand in UN and other international fora that Balawaristan (Gilgit Baltistan) is not part of Pakistan because it’s a disputed part of J&K. If we quote the same thing that Gilgit Baltistan is not part of Pakistan then why government of Pakistan and its agencies become ferocious and try to eliminate such people who speak the truth.
You were the witness in the past that we did not take part in the elections of Pakistan and you observed recently that the two million people of Balawaristan have no right in the elections of Pakistan.
What does it mean, because we are not Pakistani citizens. We don’t have any involvement in the elections of Pakistani president, prime minister and ministers and even members of Pakistani assemblies. There is no single word in the constitution of Pakistan about our area. If we are not part of Pakistan, then how the question of breaking it arises and how we can break it. There is no logic behind this blame that we the nationalists of Balawaristan are trying to break and disintegrate of Pakistan.
We don’t have any evil intention against Pakistan. We don’t want to disintegrate Pakistan. Pakistanis themselves are involved in the disintegration of Pakistan, because of its long military rule.
Pakistanis themselves broke Pakistan in 1971 by killing Bengalis. Now Pakistanis are trying to break Balochistan and Sindh provinces by killing the people and creating terror. Pakistan has four provinces and eight tribal regions. Pakistan can be divided into pieces or can be disintegrated if and when any of its provinces or tribal agencies is separated. Pakistan will not break or disintegrate if and when Balawaristan gets FREEDOM, because its not part of Pakistan. It is the obligation of Pakistan to end its occupation over Balawaristan and occupied J&K according to UNCIP resolutions.
According to UNCIP resolutions, the stage of Balawaristan and J&K to annex or merge into Pakistan OR India is still awaited.
But Pakistan could have given special provincial powers or like a J&K like setup to Gilgit-Baltistan till the decision of the whole J&K issue. But Pakistan cannot make this area part of its territory or province in the presence of UN resolutions. The people who demand for provincial status or Pakistani constitutional rights are either sycophants and want to get personal benefits and do not bother about the interest of the people and don’t bother about the International laws. Due to such people the hatred and opposition among the people of Balawaristan against Pakistan is on the rise.
My dear brothers and sisters, I am very happy that the youth of our nation has gained political wisdom and our nation is awakening today. This is a result of the struggle of all of you. The main proof of this national awakening is that the nation and especially our colleagues in GBDA did not waste even a second and informed the nation about the hollowness of the so-called package announced by Pervez Musharraf. This was a sign of unity of the nation too.
You know that what are the obstacles and hindrances in the path of freedom. A propaganda has been launched against me in connivance with the occupiers since 1999 in which some of our constrained brothers in the media are also involved. It has been made a crime even to take my name. Last year when I stepped into a free world from the life of solitude and started to represent you in the European Parliament and other international forums, the intensity of the smear campaign against me intensified at the national and international levels. I am happy to say that our people through their wisdom and sagacity have foiled the conspiracies of the usurpers and their agents. It shows that our destiny is not far away, because the nation is not in slumber and illusion like in the past. The nation now understands that sectarianism and lack of political awareness are the main causes of slavery.
My brothers and respected colleagues, you tell me is there any nation in the world who accepts slavery of others in the name of religion. Don’t you deserve freedom? Will you not remain Muslim if you got independence? Were we not Muslims before Pakistan occupied us? In fact, before 1947, we were good Muslims and good human being but as soon as our interaction with the Pakistanis increased our standard of character started to degrade. To be a good Muslim, a person should possess a good moral character and should not fall prey to the shenanigans of occupiers and their agents. These people exploit your resources by enslaving you and push you to the abysmal depth of immorality by eliminating your culture, history and identity. Pakistan very cleverly made us its slave in 1947 due to our innocence and political immaturity. It also made the area liberated by our forefathers disputed without even their information. On April 28, 1949, the United Nations through a resolution asked Pakistan to withdraw its troops from Gilgit-Baltistan within seven weeks. Pakistan sought twelve weeks to implement the UN resolution which was acceded to by the world body. Besides, Pakistan was also asked to ensure self-rule in Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Did the Pakistani troops went back or self-rule was ensured in the area? No, instead of implanting the UN resolution Pakistan kept on consolidating its occupation. Look at Pakistan’s sincerity: the day when the UN asked it to withdraw its troops from the region on April 28, 1949, Pakistan entered into a bogus agreement with Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas and Sardar Ibrahim of Kashmir to perpetuate its rule on you. Later, Sardar Ibrahim himself declared the so-called pact fake. Even our revolutionary troops and the so-called Mirs were kept out of the bogus agreement.
Pakistan has also looted our land and resources like war booty. The construction of Basha Dam is also a part of the conspiracy to drown our land and destroy our culture and history. Dear friends, under the divide and rule policy, Pakistan has succeeded to divide the people of Gilgit-Baltistan on sectarian lines and deprive them of their rights. Pakistan’s so-called leaders sent thousands of NLI personnel to Kargil like mercenaries and when they sacrificed their lives the credit was given to the so-called mujahideen. In this war, our 3,000 brothers were killed and hundreds others made paralyzed. Ironically, Pakistan accepted the dead bodies of its citizens but refused that of our brothers terming them mujahideen. As a result, scores of bodies of our brothers were buried in the mountain of Kargil. Through human rights organizations we appeal to the elected government of Pakistan to arrange the return of the NLI personnel’s bodies to bury them in their hometowns. We also demand that Musharraf should stand trial for killing 3,000 NLI personnel in the Kargil misadventure.
My brothers and sisters, our elders were sent to jail when they demanded a separate province; when they talked of constitutional rights they were put behind bars and when they sought right to vote they were also imprisoned. When emergency was declared in Pakistan, the whole Pakistanis rose in revolt, but no one cares about Gilgit-Baltistan where two million people have been rotting under a perpetual martial law –like rule for the last over 60 years. Did our elders liberate Gilgit-Baltistan only to live a life of slavery in the 21st century.
Our brothers are not trusted for the posts of a DCO or an SSP. Government officials from Gilgit-Baltistan are looked down upon. Have we no right to become the prime minister, president, chief justice of the Supreme Court or the army chief? But if you join Pakistan your destiny would be to become voters of Pakistani leaders only. We have not one but hundreds of able personnel in the NLI and outside in the presence of whom people like Ziaul Haq and Musharraf have no quality even to become a Havaldar. But as long as we remain under the control of Pakistan our destiny would remain the same.
Ladies and gentlemen, Pakistan always refers to the UN resolutions due to which it cannot amalgamate Gilgit-Baltistan in its constitution nor can make it its province. In the constitution, there is no mention of Gilgit-Baltistan, because the international community does not recognize Gilgit-Baltistan as part of Pakistan, but a disputed part of Kashmir. As a result, the demand by some of our friends for the constitutional rights or a separate province is not given much importance, because Pakistan cannot include Gilgit-Baltistan in its constitution by separating it from the Kashmir dispute. By making it a province or allocating a few seats in parliament, Pakistan cannot take the risk of violating its own stance or that of the UN. However, the region can be given a special provincial status without bringing it under the constitution of Pakistan.
But Pakistan has treated us as its slave for the last over 60 years, not due to constitutional constraints but because of the ill intentions of its rulers. Pakistan has maintained its control on Gilgit-Baltistan not through any law or principle but under the fake law of April 28, 1949. Now the time has come we exposed the fakeness of the document and take action against those behind the bogus document. Now our nation should expedite efforts to become a respectable nation of the world instead of remaining slaves of others by dividing itself on sectarian lines.
Dear friends, you should never pin any hope on these occupiers of our land who divided you on sectarian basis and destroyed your unity besides looting your natural resources. In the presence of the usurpers, our rights and honor can never remain safe. To expect anything good from those who have kept us in slavery for the last over 60 years would be equal to deceive your future generation. My dear brothers and sisters, today we have to ask ourselves whether we have to further waste our time in struggling to become voters of Pakistani leaders or have to think of attaining our own rights and live as an independent nation in the civilized world. This is a decision which you have to take. As far as BNF is concerned, we have long ago decided not to live a slave’s life, not to remain Pakistan’s voters, we do not need the continuation of judicial commissioner but need our own high court and supreme court which would not be under the control of Pakistan. We do not need NALA but want an independent legislative assembly. The NA council has been renamed as NALA as it deserved. This is not a legislative assembly but is in a true term has become a Nallah of Pakistani cities. The Nallah is not of the pure water flowing down from our land but a congestion of gutter and sewage which has become stinking like Nallah Lai of the 1970s. The members of NALA cheat not only themselves but the whole nation by considering themselves as equal to MNAs. Since 1970s, these councillors have always preferred their own interests on the interests of the people. Today a responsible citizen of Pakistan understands the injustices done with the people of the region but for these councillors even the interest of a PWD engineer has more value than that of the nation and the region. These councillors have always felt proud of meeting an SP or a DC and have betrayed the people and supported the usurpers. They have never raised a voice for the rights of the masses and always preferred their own vested interests. This does not mean that I have personal grudge with a few councillors but I am referring to all the members of the council as a whole who have kept our people in the dark. These opportunist members of NALA are equally responsible, along with the Pakistani rulers, for keeping our people deprived of their basic human and constitutional rights. I know that from today these NALA members will go two steps forward than the security agencies and their cohorts in spreading propaganda against me. But I do not care and would continue to inform my people about the actual situation and hope that the people would never be carried away by deception of the rulers like introduction of a package etc.
We appeal to government of China to return our lands, the part of Hunza, which had been given to it during British Empire before 1947 and the portion of Shimshal Hunza given to it by Pakistan in 1963. China is urged not to help Pakistan’s illegal and immoral occupation by constructing railway track through Balawaristan and not to construct the disputed Diamar Dam. We also appeal to government of China for not occupying our land and mountains on the pretext of mines lease of Yasen area and other places. It should be noted that Pakistan has no legal authority to give any lease or to make any agreement on behalf of the people of Balawaristan because it is a disputed land and Pakistan has no legal authority on it. China is a super power of Asia and it should not involve itself in the occupation process of Pakistan. We demand that the government of Pakistan withdraw its troops and civilian officials from Gilgit-Baltistan in accordance with its promise, Retrieve the land given to outsiders and allot it to the local owners. Our people do not need any NALA but an independent legislative assembly, we do not want the continuation of chief commissioner in the name of chief and appellate courts, we need an independent supreme court. We do not want a Balochistan type of identity but want an independent Balawaristan.