Speaking at an event held under the aegis of United Kashmir People's National Party (UKPNP) in PoK capital Muzaffarabad, the activists said in a statement, "Exploitation of [the] natural resources in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan has deprived the natives of the region of their own natural wealth. Pakistan is plundering our natural resources without [the] consultation of the local population. Mega projects in [the] disputed territories of PoK and Gilgit- Baltistan is a clear violation of [the] United Nations resolutions on Kashmir and (other) international laws."
UKPNP leaders demanded restoration of self-governance of Kashmiris and ownership of their natural resources. They called up nationalist, democratic and secular-minded people to join hands with the party to combat extremism and terrorism in the entire region of Jammu and Kashmir, and particularly in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan.
"Hundreds of people, who are residing along district Kotli, Neelum Valley and other parts of PoK have disappeared for years. Scores of security personnel are refusing to cooperate," the statement further read.
"Political activists and members of civil society have become targets of state infrastructure and extremist outfits supported by Islamabad," the statement added.
UKPNP leaders urged upon the Pakistan Government to take effective measures to control activities of those who promote extremism, violence and intolerance in various parts of PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan and also "make arrangements for the immediate release of all those who have involuntarily disappeared from the area."
Party leaders strongly denounced restrictions on freedom of expression and press and asked Pakistan to lift the ban on newspapers, publications, books and booklets.
The UKPNP called on Pakistan to withdraw all "fabricated sedition charges" against "peaceful Kashmiri nationalists" and demanded their immediate and unconditional release.
UKPNP and UKNSO activists chanted slogans like, "We Want Freedom", "Down with Lent Officers," "Foreign Forces Quit from Jammu and Kashmir," " Stop plundering Natural Resources in PoK and Gilgit Baltistan." (ANI)