Muzaffarabad (PoK) / Karachi (Pakistan) / Hunza (Gilgit Baltistan), 13 October (ANI): People from Gilgit Baltistan hold demonstrations across the region and in major Pakistani cities against Islamabad’s crackdown on civil rights and people’s politics.
Demanding the immediate release of rights activists who have been sentenced on false charges, the protesters have launched a massive resistance movement in the wake of Islamabad’s efforts to change the political status of occupied Gilgit Baltistan.
“We will not surrender until all the activists are released from prison. We are all ready to be arrested. We are waiting for the next steps of the Aseeran-i-Hunza Rihaee Committee. Whenever they call, we will hold back widespread protests across Diamer, Darel to the Khunjerab border. We will hold demonstrations in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. If necessary, we will go on strike, “said a leader of the Gilgit Baltistan Youth Alliance, Karachi.
In the city of Muzaffarabad in Pakistani-occupied Kashmir (PoK), a massive protest was organized on Sunday by the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front and the Student Liberation Front against the government’s decision to make Gilgit Baltistan a province.
Political activists say they will sacrifice themselves but will not allow Pakistan to change the status of the region. People from Gilgit Baltistan, who have lived in other Pakistani cities, have also taken to the streets against Islamabad’s arbitrary ruling.
Recently, the Minister for Kashmir Affairs of Pakistan and Gilgit Baltistan, Ali Amin Gandapur, revived the controversial issue of granting provincial status to Gilgit Baltistan.
The sudden announcement of the inclusion of Gilgit-Baltistan as Pakistan’s fifth province and the underlying reasons for the same is much broader and its implications are sure to set the tone for exacerbating tensions, which are already playing out in the east along the Line. Actual Control (LAC) at the India-China border.
Communities in the region have also protested against denial of fundamental rights and policies. They accuse the government of taking arbitrary actions in dealing with people who claim their rights.
They threatened to escalate their protests if Baba Jan and other activists who had been in prison for years were not released immediately.
Gilgit Baltistan, formerly known as the Northern Territory has been governed by the “Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance 2009”, which forms the electoral framework. Elections have been held in areas under the Order which provide limited autonomy.
People accuse Pakistan of systematically exploiting its resource areas and not sharing profits with them.
Any resistance they say was met with brutal reprisals by the government with activists and leaders being hunted down, arrested and tortured. (ANI)
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