Balawaristan National Front (BNF) chairman, Abdul Hamid Khan has said that India should involve the people of Gilgit Balistan, Chitral and Shhenaki Kohistan regions in the peace dialogue process of Kashmir.
Talking to reporters here on Thursday [30 July 2009], Khan said, " A dialogue on Kashmir between India and Pakistan should not ignore the strategic importance of Balwaristan".
"India should not ignore Gilgit Baltistan which combining Chitral comprises an area of 100,000 square kilometres. Whenever there is a dialogue regarding Kashmir, India should include people of Gilgit Baltistan," he added.
He also expressed concern at the recent construction of 16 airstrips along the Karakorum Highway (KKH) that links Pakistan with China.
"We want to live as an independent country. Our independent country will be peaceful for Pakistan as well as India and also will be good for China because our area wouldn't be used for terrorism. Border of India will become safe and it will provide India an approach to Central Asia and China. We want India to request China to stop the process of leasing our hills...lands, construction of airstrips, railway lines which it has started by deploying its forces," he said.
In Pakistan administered Kashmir, the BNF is trying to get the states of a separate nation, Balawaristan comprising Gilgit Baltistan, Chitral and Shhenaki Kohistan regions.
Although the group is seeking independence from Pakistan rule, it believes that it is the duty of India to protect the interest of Balawaristan since India considers the entire Kashmir including Pakistan administered Kashmir as Indian territory.
Kashmir has been a bone of contention between India and Pakistan for over two decades with both countries staking claims over the region. (ANI)
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