Gilgit-Baltistan: Protests Denounce Pakistani Violations of Human and Civil Rights in the Region
Ahead of the commemoration of “Kashmir Solidarity Day” on 5 February 2019 in London, England, massive protests are being held in parts of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and in Gilgit-Baltistan, denouncing the ill-treatment of political prisoners like Baba Jan, a leading political activist, who have been deprived of their basic rights by Pakistan. Furthermore, the protests stood against Pakistani rule in the region as well as against several violations to the rights of the residents of the region and their lack of access to basic services.
The article below was published by ANI:
Pakistan, once again, displayed its holier than thou attitude as on one hand, Islamabad is holding an anti-India Kashmir conference in the House of Commons in London and on the other hand, the armed forces of the nation are cracking down on the Kashmir people in Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.
Massive protests are taking place in parts of PoK and Gilgit Baltistan, as Islamabad continues to ill-treat political prisoners.
Baba Jan, a leading political activist from Gilgit Baltistan, who has been languishing in prison for more than eight years due to trumped-up charges, has been denied adequate healthcare despite his deteriorating health.
Protesters including his followers, friends and relatives in Hunza valley In Gilgit demanded his immediate release and transfer to a better medical facility.
A woman protester in Hunza said, “I met him yesterday and found that he was suffering from unbearable pain. He also told me that he was prescribed mere painkillers. Since there is no facility available for angiography in Gilgit Baltistan, he should be shifted to Islamabad or to any other city where he can receive better medical attention”.
Protesters said that the local administration which acts at the commands of Islamabad (has done nothing for the people of the region.
They also accused the establishment of exercising high handedness in order to stifle reasonable voices.
Baba Jan is one such activist who challenged the administration, which was essentially working against the people in order to fill the coffers of Islamabad.
“A single letter of Baba Jan exposed all political people, NGOs, government departments and health sectors of the region. There is not even one dedicated department for health in Gilgit Baltistan, a region which has a population of 25 lakhs. Baba Jan has followers (who can fight for his cause) but what about the poor and destitute. So, it is not an issue confined to Baba Jan but all 25 lakh citizens of Gilgit Baltistan”, said another protester at a gathering.
This agitation against the Pakistani establishment comes ahead of its dubious exercise of commemorating ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ in London on February 5.
However, its agenda which is fundamentally based on peddling lies and spewing venom against India was unmasked as Kashmiri people took to the streets expressing their grief and grievance against Islamabad. The region of POK has deliberately been kept deprived of basic services.
A protester said, “Criminals and terrorists have become part of the Pakistani protocol (establishment) and one struggles for rights of the people, the ones who provide energy to their voices and ones who fight for the oppressed is meted out with ill-treatment.”
Pakistan makes huge claims of working for the welfare of the people of occupied Gilgit Baltistan and PoK on international platforms. However, the ground reality reeks of a rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in the region.
Photo Courtesy of Kashmir Global