Apr 12, 2010

Gilgit Baltistan: BNF Chief Rejects New Pakistani Package as Unjust

The Balawaristan National Front (BNF) reject new Pakistani package, because it will create more deprivation and injustice.

Below is an article published by Weekly Baang Karachi :

Pakistan is continuously hoodwinking the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and the world by maintaining a facade of democratic rule in the region since 1969. This drama started by military ruler General Yahya and continued during the civilian rule of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto after 1971 only to be followed by another fraud termed LFO/Rules of business in 1994. The local representative body called Northern Areas Legislative Council (NALC) was again renamed under the Legal Framework Order of 1994 which also gave the same old powers to the minister KANA but nothing to the local chief executive.

These views were expressed by Abdul Hamid Khan, the Chairman of the Balawaristan National Front (BNF), during a debate in the House of Lords London on April 7. Besides many leaders and workers from Jammu and Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani journalists, diplomats and prominent Kashmiri leaders including Afzal Tahir, Nadim Aslam and Najib Afsar, Prof Nazir Tabassum, Shams Rehman, Dr RP Sharma and Ani Bhanot participated in the debate.The BNF leader said Pakistan had widely propagated for the recent 5th package and its fraudulent elections 2009 to the so-called Legislative Assembly and Council of Gilgit Baltistan."We the people of Balawaristan reject this new Pakistani package, because this will create more deprivation, lack of justice and will snatch our freedom than ever before. Pakistan wanted to use this puppet council and so-called assembly as a rubber stamp to endorse all its demands and orders." He said in February this year Pakistani forces killed three innocent demonstrators in Chilas and injured dozens when they demonstrated against the forcible eviction of their land to construct Diamar Bhasha Dam.

Mr Khan said that after the announcement of the so-called package, intelligence agencies allegedly killed dozens of local people in Gilgit to divide them on sectarian lines before the arrival of Prime Minister of Pakistan so no one could dare to protest against the package.The indigenous people of this part are facing serious loss of properties and life from the River Indus which has not been taken into account before India held Water Treaty with Pakistan in 1960 which does not suits to a democratic attitude of any country.He said six mega dams which Pakistan has planned to build in Gilgit Baltistan would submerge half of the population of this disputed land.

The 1960 Water Treaty does not allow Pakistan and China to destroy Gilgit Baltistan and change its demography, he added. Khan further said that by keeping in mind the disputed nature of this region, Pakistan should be refrained from constructing the mega dams (Diamar Bhasha Dam, Bonji Dam, Hanzel Dam near Gilgit City, Skardu Dam and Ghanchhe Dam) in Gilgit Baltistan as these would displace more than half of the indigenous population. Besides displacement of the people, the drastic change of weather would bring unbearable crisis to the region. It is the duty of UN and UK to protect the lives, unique culture, language, property and dignity of the local people, he added. "I have the privilege to make an announcement here. I have been given the assignment by Gilgit Baltistan Democratic Alliance (GBDA) to represent them on international forums. I and the GBDA are thankful to those leaders of J&K who have been highlighting the issue of Gilgit Baltistan in Pakistan as well as on international level, which bared Pakistan to annex. It's a fact that in the whole history of Gilgit Baltistan after British departure from subcontinent, I am the only person who has applied for asylum in Europe. "This shows Gilgit Baltistan has lack of representation on international level like J&K. Now, my party as well as GBDA has realised that the people of Gilgit Baltistan and the son of the soil has the right to represent Gilgit Baltistan on international level so that our unique culture, language, history, political and economical rights are protected, which are totally different from J&K. It's regrettable to say that some leaders who belong to Jammu & Kashmir have been representing Gilgit Baltistan for their own interest. "We are only comfortable with such Kashmiris who have open and clear stand of freedom and independence and don't want to be part of such party whose agenda is ambiguous or revolves around religion or financial or any other interest or prejudiced instead of real nationalism."I request the leaders and people of J&K to help us whatever help we want and do not cross the limit of friendship like the manner of Sardar Ibrahim and Choudhry Gholam Abbas who did fraud with the people of Gilgit Baltistan in 1949.He said the people of Gilgit Baltistan want independence and do not want to fall in the hands of Kashmiris for another slavery. "We want equal partnership and we do not want to lose our identity as Gilgiti Balti and Chitrali. Kashmir is one part, Jammu is another, Ladakh, Gilgit, Baltistan, Chitral and Shenaki Kohistan are another truth. Being here in UK and Europe nobody wants to give sacrifices for another. If the name, culture, tradition and politics of Kashmiris are imposed that will be impossible for us to accept. If Kashmiris change their habit and accept other nationalities like Jamwal or Ponchis, Mirpuri, Gilgiti, Balti, Chitrali and Kohistanis, which are the strongest realities, then a common system can be stepped. If Kashmiris want to demolish our culture, identity and history in the same manner what Pakistanis has been doing for 63 years that will never allow us to be united." He appreciated the sincerity and sympathy of Emma Nicholson for choosing the name of princely states instead of imposing Kashmir which can lead us toward a solution in near future. Unless and until we do accept all the values of each and every princely state, the goal of freedom will not be visible at any distance, he added.