Sun, Oct 23, 2016 | updated 01:10 AM IST

Gilgit leader seeks UN help to break free from Pakistan

Updated: Aug 22, 2016 08:49 IST

Brussels (Belgium), Aug. 22 (ANI): Taking a strong exception to "grave" human rights situation in Pakistan-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan (PoGB), Balawaristan National Front (BNF) chairman Abdul Hamid Khan has appealed to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), the U.N., and the European Union (EU) to exert pressure on Pakistan to end the "illegal occupation of Gilgit-Baltistan" and withdraw its civilians and forces by fulfilling its obligations to the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) resolutions - which, he says, is the first step to "establish local authority".

In a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last month, the BNF chairman, who is living in political asylum here, urged: "The U.N. should also ask Pakistan to end its illegal occupation of Chitral and Shenaki Kohistan (in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), allowing the local people to rule their motherland as their birth right."

"If Pakistani atrocities against indigenous people continue uncontrolled, South Asia and rest of the civilised world, eventually, will have to face serious environmental and geopolitical consequences, besides human catastrophe, warned Khan, adding that two-million people of this disputed land have no way out, but expect and request Your Excellency to intervene.

Presenting facts to buttress the grave human rights situation in Gilgit-Baltistan, the northernmost administrative territory, under Pakistan's illegal occupation, Khan claimed, "PoGB has been neglected by the U.N. since it had passed the UNCIP resolution on April 28, 1949, which asked Pakistan to withdraw its citizens and military within the period of three months.

"Due to this negligence on the part of U.N., Pakistan got emboldened to increase its violation of UNCIP-stated resolutions and committed more and more atrocities against two-million people of PoGB on one side, and raised hue and cry after sending its terrorists against the innocent people of Jammu and Kashmir on the other."

"Needless to mention that the whole Jammu and Kashmir issue, including PoGB, is political and not religious one under Pakistan's "illegal occupation," he added.

The BNF chairman then went on to present some excerpts derived from the official records of the UNSC on Gilgit-Baltistan and Jammu and Kashmir, under the UNCIP, which states: "All persons (other than citizens of the state), who on or since August15, 1947 have entered it for other than lawful purposes, shall be required to leave the state; there is no threat, coercion or intimidation, bribery or other undue influence on the voters in the plebiscite; no restrictions are placed on legitimate political activity throughout the state. There shall be freedom of press, speech and assembly and freedom of travel in the state, including freedom of lawful entry and exit; all political prisoners are released; minorities in all parts of the State are accorded adequate protection; and there is no victimisation."

Khan further said UNCIP Truce Terms also provided that "they should be without prejudice to the territorial integrity and the sovereignty of the State of Jammu and Kashmir".

Quoting 177 Part III of the truce terms, which contained various general provisions, he said it established that "the territory evacuated by the Pakistan troops will be administered by the local authorities under the surveillance of the commission.

"However, instead of initiating an immediate withdrawal of its citizens and forces, Pakistan has settled its citizens and multiplied its military personnel in the region by thousands of times more. Further, the people of PoGB have no right of vote in the 21st century. This is the plight of U.N.-declared disputed Gilgit-Baltistan under Pakistani illegal occupation, where political leaders are being treated as terrorists and real terrorists are actually free to torture and even kill political and religious opponents, who dare not to obey the enslaving orders of the occupying forces and their intelligence agencies," he alleged.

Khan contended that Pakistani laws cannot be legitimately applied to those who are not even Pakistani citizens by international law and by Pakistan's own constitution.

Alleging that there is no freedom of speech, right to peaceful political assembly, right to free travel and political activities, the BNF chairman claimed, "Nationalist political parties, which do not follow the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) guidelines are not allowed to perform political activities. Issuing death threats and intimidation to politically-affiliated human rights activists in the region has become a daily routine of the Pakistani occupation regime.

"Instead of releasing innocent detainees, who have no criminal records, Pakistan arrests, tortures and imprisons hundreds of political and religious activists and awards them death sentences and life imprisonments without giving them any access to a fair and lawful judicial system (like high court and Supreme Court). Occupation regime forces are awarded and promoted if they kill any indigenous person on religious or political basis."

Accusing Pakistan of violating territorial integrity and the sovereignty of the State of Jammu and Kashmir by giving 2,500 Sq mile area of Shimshaal, Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan to China in 1963 to construct the Karakoram Highway (KKH) for its own military benefits, Khan said alleged that Pakistan annexed areas of PoGB bordering with Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa, Chitral and Kohistan.

He also accused Pakistan of hatching a conspiracy to sell out the whole Gilgit-Baltistan to China under the pretext of China Pakistan Economical Corridor (CPEC) without taking the U.N. or the people of Gilgit-Baltistan into confidence.

"All the natural resources, including mines (Uranium and Gold etc.), forest and water resources and land have been snatched from the people by force and given to Pakistani citizens, Pakistani Army, ISI and Chinese by violating the UNSC resolutions," he alleged.

At the end, he stated, "Two-million people of this disputed land have no way out, but expect and request Your Excellency to intervene." (ANI)