Pakistan’s decision to make Gilgit-Baltistan its provisional province illegal: Activists
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent announcement to make Gilgit-Baltistan a provisional province of Pakistan has drawn massive condemnation from people, politicians and activists alike.
On Khan’s announcement, people across Gilgit-Baltistan are up in arms against Islamabad’s decision. Activists wonder as to how an occupying state which has no locus standi over the region can take a call of subsuming it with the rest of Pakistan.
Sajjad Raja, Chairman of National Equality Party JKGBL said, “Imran Khan’s speech is merely an election stunt aimed at begging pro-province votes in Gilgit Baltistan. Gilgit Baltistan is an integral part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and we shall never let Pakistan to either change its status or to divide it further. Pakistan’s continued occupation of Gilgit Baltistan and PoJK is a clear violation of the United Nations’ resolutions and we demand that Pakistan must immediately withdraw all forces and citizens from Gilgit Baltistan and PoJK.”
Observers have been taken by surprise as they say that Pakistan always knew about its immoral authority over the region. It was due to this that Pakistan maintained even at international platforms that Gilgit Baltistan was a disputed territory.
However, now, with China’s growing influence in Pakistan’s decision-making process has shaped Islamabad’s call. It is clear that China wants Gilgit Baltistan to have a political status within the constitutional framework of Pakistan so that its ambitious China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) doesn’t suffer any political roadblocks.
Meanwhile, people say they will never accept being part of Pakistan as their true identity is Indian.
Senge H. Sering, a political activist from Gilgit Baltistan who is now based in Washington DC said, “People of Gilgit Baltistan are Indian citizens. One job that the United Nations gave to Pakistan was to withdraw from Gilgit Baltistan. But Pakistan and China have colluded to maximize the exploitation and abuse of local resources and in order to give a constitutional cover to their illegal activities in Gilgit Baltistan and the violation of the UN Resolutions, Pakistan has decided to give GB a province status without giving constitutional rights”.
“You were an occupier, you are an occupier and you will remain an occupier. So, we humbly request you to vacate our land. Leave Gilgit Baltistan and leave illegally occupied PoJK before our people throw you out by force. I believe it is a black day for us”, said Dr. Amjad Ayub Mirza, a political activist from PoK now based in Glasgow.
The region of Gilgit Baltistan was a part of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir before 1947. Islamabad had sent tribal mercenaries to invade it post India’s partition. The king of the state, Maharaja Hari Singh had then signed an instrument of accession on 26th October 1947 declaring his state’s formal merger with India.
But Pakistan never vacated the region it had occupied. Even today, the people of the region demand freedom from its clutches.