Gilgit Baltistan: China and Pakistan Consider Security Alliance.
Security deal threatens to secure an already worrying encroachment of mining into the region of Gilgit and Baltistan
Below is an article published by the India Times:
At a time when the distance between American and Pakistani priorities in the post-Osama period continues to grow, China is passionately vouching for Pakistan's entry into theShanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is seen as the upcoming Asian NATO. For some time now, China and Pakistanhave aspired to create a regional alliance comprising the Arab countries, Central Asian Republics, Iran, Afghanistan and Turkey, and SCO could most likely help that dream come true.
But there is more to it than meets the eye. The lynchpin connecting these countries will be Gilgit Baltistan, a disputed region rivaling Serbia in area. Although constitutionally a part of India and bordering China's Xinjiang province, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, Gilgit Baltistan remains in Pakistani control since 1947.
The political uncertainty owing to India's claim to the region is especially worrisome for China, which currently depends on her southern neighbour for two reasons. Firstly, China uses transit routes of Gilgit Baltistan to reach Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan and the ports along the coastline of Arabian Sea; and secondly, Chinese mining companies control the region's much valued mineral deposits of uranium, gold, copper, marble and precious stones.
However the locals continue to resist China's ambitions. In 2008, for instance, a local person was killed when the residents of uranium-rich Gindai valley in Ghizer district clashed with Chinese miners. A Pakistani company called Mohmand Minerals met the same fate in 2010 in Nasirabad valley of Hunza district where the infamous Babajan Hunzai of Progressive Youth Front spearheads the resistance against Pakistani and Chinese expansionism. Today (29, June, 2011), more than 100 local right defenders are locked up in Pakistani jails and face sedition charges for denying space to the Chinese and Pakistani mining companies in their valleys.
But the person, making the headlines in local newspapers for criticizing foreign miners, is Advocate Shahbaz Khan, the chairperson of Metals, Minerals and Gems Association of Gilgit Baltistan, who has recently accused some individuals of acquiring 35 tonnes of certain mineral deposits from uranium-rich Karkalti village of Ghizer district, and smuggling to China.