World help sought for ensuring rights

Weekly Bang-e-Sahar Saturday, June 21—June 27, 2008

By Our Correspondent
SKARDU: Representatives of nationalist parties from Gilgit-Baltistan demanded restoration of the region’s historical name, Gilgit-Baltistan, and said they reject the Pakistani government’s adopted nomenclature `Northern Areas’ for their land.They said Pakistan should stop denying basic rights to the two million people in the 21st century otherwise its consequences would be disastrous. The public meeting was organized by the Gilgit-Baltistan United Movement at Yadgar-Shuhada Chowk Skardu. A large number of people from various parts of the region attended the meeting. Speaking on the occasion, the leaders of the component parties of the Gilgit-Baltistan Democratic Alliance (GBDA) sought formation of an Independent Constituent Assembly to draft a constitution for the region in accordance with the aspirations of the people. The speakers also asked the world community to take notice rampant human rights violations in Gilgit-Baltistan.They appealed to the United Nations, European Union as well as the world community to focus their attention on Gilgit-Baltistan to help the people in achieving their basic human rights. “The region’s historical name, Gilgit Baltistan, should be restored and the so-called `Northern Areas’ should be done away with,” the speakers demanded.They said all the routes especially the historical route between Kargil and Skardu should be opened so that the divided families can meet each other. All land given to non-local people in Gilgit-Baltistan in violation of the State Subject Rule (SSR)should be retrieved and the SSR should be enforced in the area, they added. The speakers said as per suggestion of President Pervez Musharraf, India should withdraw its forces from Kargil and Laddakh and at the same time Pakistan should pull out of Gilgit-Baltistan.They demanded withdrawal of all non-local military and civilian officials posted in civilian organisations of Gilgit-Baltistan and appointment of locals in their place.They warned the officials of sensitive agencies against meddling in public affairs and harassment of political workers and violation of human rights.They also demanded handing over of the control of Special Communication Organisation (SCO) Pakistan Army and Frontier Work Organisation (FWO) Pakistan Army to local civilians and induction of local youth in these organisations. The meeting called for withdrawal of fake cases against political workers and leaders of Gilgit-Baltistan, lifting of the ban on monthly Kargil International magazine and ensuring freedom of expression and security to the local journas.Through another resolution, they demanded setting up of engineering, medical and IT universities in Skardu, Chilas, Hunza and Gahkuch. They also asked the government to stop projects like Diamer-Basha dam, Bunji dam and Satpara dam in Skardu, and reinstatement of workers sacked by a private company in Sadpara dam.


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