The Position of Gilgit Baltistan in the Current Scenario of South Asia
Abdul Hamid Khan, Chairman, Balawaristan National Front (BNF) Presented his statement in UNHRC 13th Session in Geneva 16th March 2010
It’s my privilege to present a brief case on Gilgit Baltistan on the occasion of Human Rights Council Session here in Geneva.
I represent Gilgit Baltistan Democratic Alliance (GBDA) as chairman of Balawaristan National Front (BNF) being in exile in Brussels because of the ISI’s threat to my life and I am also representative of a lonely nationalist alliance of Balawaristan (China and Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan) namely GBDA (Gilgit Baltistan Democratic Alliance) which consists of 6 indigenous parties, which demand for freedom and independence from the occupation of both Pakistan and China.
I would like to present the LEGAL POSITION of Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan, (Chhitrar) Chitral and Shhenaki Kohistan.
Occupation of Chitral (Chhitrar) by Pakistan:
Saif-ur-Rehman Mehtar (Ruler) was sent to prison by government of Pakistan and later he was killed by Pakistan in 1954 on Lawari Pass near Chitral capital.
The state of Chitral, which was tributary of Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir, was taken over illegally and un-democratically by the government of Pakistan in
1950. The status of tiny kingdom of Chitral was demolished illegally and merged it in to Malakand Division of the North West Frontier Province as its district by Pakistan in 1970.
On the other side Pakistan took control of Shenaki Kohistan which were part and parcel of Chilas, now a part of Balawaristan. But its irony that the UNO and whole world is witnessing that in spite of withdrawal its forces and civilians in 12 weeks according to UN resolutions, Pakistan is increasing its forces and Intelligence agencies 1000 times besides its own and other foreign national on the soil of Balawaristan after the passage of 3294 weeks of its violation.
On the other hand Pakistan had signed a fraudulent agreement with the leaders of PoK about taking over the control of Gilgit Baltistan on the same date on 28 April 1947 when UNCIP passed Truce Terms. This was the first violation of UNCIP resolution committed by Pakistan.
STATE SUBJECT RULE:
In 1927 Maharaja Hari Singh the then ruler of Jammu & Kashmir promulgated State Subject Rule in 1927 to protect the culture, language, property and heritage and other interest of the indigenous people of J&K including Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral.
By accepting the proposal of withdrawal of its forces and civilian from its occupied J&K and Gilgit Baltistan according to 28th April 1949 resolution of UNCIP, government of Pakistan has become illegal occupied regime and an irrelevant self-made attorney for J & K generally and for Balawaristan (Gilgit Baltistan) particularly.
Pakistan-China border agreement on 2nd March 1963. Delimitation and demarcation of Sinkiang-Kashmir (the name Kashmir was used for Gilgit by both the signatories) border agreement article No.6 is as under:
"The two parties have agreed that after the settlement of the Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan, the sovereign authority concerned will reopen negotiations with the government of the Peoples Republic of China on the boundary treaty to replace the present agreement."
In the Supreme Court of Pakistan appeal No.33 - 1965 Noor Hussain versus State case can be studied as follows: "Any territory which does not constitute part of the Republic of Pakistan is defined in the constitution of 1962 as a foreign territory."it means that Gilgit Baltistan is not a part of Pakistan according to 1962 constitution.
The same situation applies for the constitution of 1973. In another writ petition No.5961, 1978,in the Lahore High Court, Dilawar Shah versus Judicial Commissioner (the then judicial dictator of Balawaristan), Mr. Justice Javed Iqbal decided that :
"Northern Areas (Balawaristan), which are administered by the federal government directly are not part of any province. These areas are also not included in the tribal areas list as per 246 of the constitution, the learned counsel submitted that under clause (d) article 1 (2) of 1973 constitution above a territory can be included in Pakistan by "accession or otherwise".
GENERAL PROVISION OF UNCIP
A. The territory evacuated by the Pakistan troops will be administered by the local authority under the surveillance of the commission. B. Immediately upon the acceptance of these terms, the commission would enter in to consultation with the Government of India regarding the disposal of the Indian and state armed forces and with the local authorities regarding the disposal of the armed forces in the territory to be evacuated by Pakistani troops, with a view to initiating implementations of point 4 (A) and (B) of the commission's resolution of 5th January, 1949. KANA division or Parliament or Judiciary of Pakistan or other judicial or administrative / representative of Pakistan based in Balawaristan (Occupied Gilgit Baltistan) or Islamabad or anywhere in Pakistan have no right to extend / exercise any ordinary or special powers to this area, without popular will and representation of the 2 million people of Balawaristan. As far as the interest of the people of Balawaristan is concerned, what the representative of Pakistan has mentioned in his statement before Lahore High Court is malevolence and is baseless. Because, no people of the world would stamp on the orders of their slavery and thus the people of Balawaristan have never asked Pakistan to impose its cruel laws on themselves.
European Parliament Resolution on Kashmir
European Parliament resolution of 24 May 2007 on Kashmir: Present Situation and Future Prospects (2005/2242(INI)
B. whereas much of Jammu and Kashmir, in particular Gilgit and Baltistan, suffers from extreme poverty and neglect, with enormous deficiencies in basic literacy and numeracy and in access to healthcare, a lack of democratic structures and major deficiencies in the rule of law and justice; and whereas the whole of Jammu and Kashmir suffers from exceptional economic decline,
2. Draws attention to the fact that India is the world’s largest secular democracy and has devolved democratic structures at all levels, whereas Pakistan still lacks full implementation of democracy in AJK and has yet to take steps towards democracy in Gilgit and Baltistan European Parliament raises serious concerns over Pakistan’s proxy rule in Gilgit Baltistan "The European Parliament (in Strasberg on 16th Dec. 2009), having regard to Rule 123 of its Rules of Procedure, draft written declaration on the security threat through Pakistan in the area of Gilgit Baltistan. A. Whereas the EU is concerned about the developments in South Asia, particularly Pakistan, B. Whereas concerning Pakistan the EU is particularly worried about Gilgit Baltistan a part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir administered from Islamabad,
3. Calls upon the Pakistan to invite a representative of the European Union to undertake a study of the region. Such representative shall be nominated by the European Union in consultation with the European Parliament,
On 29th Aug. 2009, Mr. Syed Yousuf Reza Gilani, Prime Minister of Pakistan announced a package for Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan) by terming it as self-governance and Internal Autonomy.
The so-called package has been finalized by a Committee under the Chairmanship of Mr. Qamar Zaman Kaira, (A Pakistani National and not elected from Gilgit Baltistan) Minister of KANA Islamabad.
The governor and Chairman of the Council are the Supreme Authority in this package. Like PoK Council of Gilgit Baltistan would be chaired by the prime minister of Pakistan along with his own nominated majority member, who will not be elected by votes of the people of Gilgit Baltistan, while an un-elected governor, to be appointed by the president of Pakistan, would act as vice – chairman of the council. This arrangement is being seen as a major ploy to control the elected representatives of Gilgit Baltistan, so to use the new political setup as rubber stamp to get stamp for the construction of 6 Mega Dams including Diamar/ Bhasha Dam, Bonji Dam and to merge Gilgit Baltistan in to Pakistan by ignoring the will of the 2 Million people as well as the UNCIP resolutions. Pakistan has also a design to merge this part of disputed Jammu & Kashmir into its territory by the support of China without keeping the UNCIP resolutions in mind.
Pakistanis themselves had prepared the so-called package for the region under the supervision of a Pakistani Minister Mr. Qamar Zaman Kaira, keeping all powers with themselves and then staging the drama of the elections for their own vested interest in total violation of UNCIP resolutions of 13th Aug. 1948.
The government of Pakistan which is a colonial power, had completely kept the people of Gilgit-Baltistan in the dark while preparing the package, it also kept them away from the elections.
Parties from Karachi Pakistan (MQM, B Team of ISI), Lahore (PML Nawaz),TIP Lahore (Tehrik-e-Insaf a Taliban Supporter), Jamaat-e-Islami (Fundamentalist) and Jamat-e-Ulema-e-Pakistan (Maulana Fazlur Rehman a partner of ISI) from Gujrat (PMLQ) Ladkana (PPP) and Peshawar (ANP) Pakistan were brought in and provided with all sorts of facilities for interfering in the elections. Millions of rupees were also disbursed in bribes among the voters to rig the elections. On the other hand, leaders and activists of the only nationalist parties, GBDA (Gilgit Baltistan Democratic Alliance, including Balawaristan National Front, Karakorum National Moment and Gilgit Baltistan United Moment) were put behind bars or expelled from the region on 30th Oct and 1st November before the elections so that they could not take part in the polls.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and secret agencies used all types of strong-arm tactics including threats and state resources against the candidates of Gilgit-Baltistan Democratic Alliance (GBDA). Pakistani imposed Election Commission, Pakistani media and its so-called impartial observers remained biased and partial against the nationalists during the whole election process by following the ISI instructions.
Of late, in order to escape the world pressure, Pakistan has tried to hoodwink the international community by introducing a so-called package for the region which is nothing but a jugglery of words in order to deceive the UN that Islamabad was serious in ensuring the rights of autonomy for the people and development of the area in modern lines.
The package and its subsequent Elections is the conspiracy of China and Pakistan to hold its grip over Gilgit Baltistan firmly, so this strategically important and resourceful region is remained under the occupation of China and Pakistan forever.
All these Pakistani parties, intelligence agencies, media and Zardari regime targeted local political parties, especially the BNF and KNM, resorting to record breaking rigging in the elections. Thus a week before the elections, the GBDA announced to boycott the elections when Pakistan occupying regime did not allow them to hold public gathering besides arresting and forcefully exiling their leaders from Gilgit to Pakistan and threaten others of dire consequences.
1. To safeguard Pakistan and Chinese economical and Military interest, Pakistan wants to merge this disputed and most strategically important part of J&K with its NWFP Province in the near future with the help of the so-called Assembly and Council by using them as RUBBER STAMP.
2. To show the International Community and particularly European Union and USA and Donor Agencies including World Bank, IMF and Asian Development Bank, Pakistan wants to readdress its illegal occupation by making fake announcements of Self-Rule and Autonomy.
Human rights abuses are widespread and common in Gilgit Baltistan for many decades but unfortunately absence of local media, independent judiciary, misrepresentation and distortion of facts have helped the Islamabad to hide its illicit practices normally carried out in the disguise of political authority. Large population faces severe human rights abuses that encompass political, religious, gender, ethnic and economic. Area faces serious and widespread discrimination in the form of economic, social and political spheres.
More than 200 political activists and leaders of this land including me are facing death sentence in sedition charges of Pakistani section 124 A, because we dared to protest against Pakistani occupation in peaceful public gathering.
A glimpse of some Human Rights violation a local government official Nazir Ahmad from Kashorote Gilgit was forced to death by the then Chief Secretary Mahmood Khan. SSP Amir Hamza first expelled from service and when he was restored by the Supreme Court, he was given such poison he died in Hospital.
Mr. Saif-Ur-Rahman a member of NAs legislative Council was killed in 2005 by using a terrorist by ISI, when he tried to bring religious harmony among Shia Muslims and Sooni Muslims of Gilgit.
In the year 2005 Ghazi Anwar Khan, finance secretary of Karakorum National Movement, set himself ablaze in Kabul as a protest against the excesses of the government of Pakistan. It is the first self immolation on political basis in the history of Gilgit-Baltistan. Constantly hounded by intelligence agencies and after an attempt on his life by agencies Ghazi Anwar Khan fled to Afghanistan where he committed suicide, when UNHCR denied him asylum. Kabul Ghazi’s family has been constantly under vigilance of intelligence agencies for last five years.
On 11th Oct 2005, some Al-Qaida terrorists opened fired on Shia Muslim in Basin (on the directives of ISI), 8 kilometer from Gilgit City on the Ghazer road. As a result 3 innocent men (Shia Muslim) were killed mand others wounded. One attacker was killed by security guard of Agha Zia, his body was taken away by ISI so far nothing has been reported about the attacker. 2 Terrorists got way towards the other side of the river Ghazer, while one injured terrorist was arrested by the local Police. Some documents and cards of Kohistan NWFP were found from his possession. This terrorist was admitted in DHQ Hospital Gilgit by the Police. Meanwhile he was forcefully taken away by the Pakistani Ranger by the immediate orders of General Musharraf, with the fear of exposure of Pakistani intrigue. The Pakistani aim to kill the local Shia indigenous people is to settle the terrorists (Al-Qaida and Taliban) from NWFP and other parts of Pakistan, without the hindrance of the local indigenous people. When the local people protested against this and argued, that this killer should not be taken anywhere unless the local Police interrogation is completed.
Pakistani Rangers opened fire on the public and took the terrorist and kidnapped a young Muslim (Shia) student of fifteen years age named Maqsood Hussain along with. On the next day the dead body of this innocent teenager was found. The colleague of the deceased student protested over the murder on 13 Oct 2005 in the morning and were peacefully dispersing when the Punjabi Rangers opened indiscriminate firing on the students and the unarmed civilians.
8th Jan to 13 Oct 2005 Killings By Occupying Forces.
Pakistani Rangers killed 75 people including 10 Pakistani nationals (Including an ISI trained and motivated terrorist the Killer of Prominent Shia Leader Agha Zia, who was killed in the cross firing) and injured 97 and displaced 148.
The following young women were killed by occupying regime on 25th May 2006
1. Kaneez Zehra D/O Mohd Issa age 19 Resident of Eidgah, Astore 2. Fareeda Begum D/o Akbar Khan age 22 resident of Chongrah, Astore.
ICG’s bleak report on Northern Areas (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan) The International Crisis Group (ICG) has issued a bleak report on Gilgit and Baltistan, highlighting what it called the “embittered” feelings of the area’s inhabitants because of Islamabad’s “unwillingness” to devolve power to its elected representatives.
HRCP (Pakistan) Report Sept 2006: The people of Northern Areas (NAs) are seeking an end to the long ambiguity over their constitutional status, access to basic rights and an end to unrest, sectarian violence and sense of uncertainty currently prevailing in the region, said a report of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan on Northern Areas.
The political discrimination manifests in economic, religious, fundamental rights and social sectors. As people face host of issues including underrepresentation, underdevelopments and economically marginalized over the period of time. Widespread human rights abuses are taking place but there is no such organization, institute, free media that could report these human rights abuses.
Judiciary is another sector that doesn’t exist as full and independent judiciary in Gilgit Baltistan. There are two Kangaroo Courts, called as Chief Court and Appellant court, whose members (not called Judges) are appointed by the Pakistani minister for Kashmir and Northern Affairs on contract basis. These judges appointment is not made on the merit basis rather solely on the political and religious considerations. Members/Judges loyalty is not with Law or Justice but widely act under the direction from that minister and Pakistan’s bureaucrats who are holding administrative, Financial and Judicial powers in the Area. ISI is another institution which dictates the so-called members/Judges on different cases of their interest. But Islamabad obduracy is determined to continue its illegal occupation by exercising extra-sovereign and extra-constitutional powers to suppress the local indigenous people by these so-called judges. Its irony that the 2 million local indigenous people of this disputed land have no right to seek the Justice anywhere in the world. It means that this is the part of the world, where human rights violations are officially permitted, because of its occupation.
Even the judges of Balawaristan had protested against discrimination meted with them by Pakistani occupying regime. The employees of Balawaristan either in Administration, Judiciary, Police, Health, Education and other departments are facing severe discrimination in terms of service, promotion, salary and powers. The local indigenous servants of Balawaristan get less salary and less powers and no promotion with compare to the Pakistani citizens in all the departments.
We the people of Balawaristan reject this new Pakistani package, because this will create more deprivation, promote further injustice and snatch our freedom more than before.
We appeal to the EU and USA to persuade China not to involve itself into further occupation process of Balawaristan (Pakistan occupied Gilgit Baltistan) by taking lease of precious mines including copper, Gold and Uranium etc, by constructing Air Strips on the Road, Railways and Dams to change its environment, demography, geography and political dispensation.
We extend our general appeal to the civilized world - European Union and USA in particular to put pressure on China and Pakistan to withdraw their forces from Gilgit Baltistan instead of playing new Package tricks, so that the 2 million people of this disputed region could decide their future without China and Pakistani interference by a free and impartial referendum/ Election for a constitutional Assembly under the supervision of the UN according to its resolution of 13th Aug. 1948. This is the only solution to avoid any future conflict between, Pakistan, India, China, Russia, USA or Europe in the near future. An independent democratic country Balawaristan (Gilgit Baltistan, Chitral and Shenaki Kohistan) will not only emancipate the 2 million people from VANISHING EDGE but also help to keep both the rival countries India and Pakistan at a distance. This country will also provide trade facilities to all the neighbour countries like India, Pakistan China besides Europe and USA to promote regional and international peace in this century.
Abdul Hamid Khan is chairman of the Balawaristan National Front (BNF), a nationalist political party of Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit-Baltistan), Pakistan calls it as Northern Areas. He started a political struggle for the human and political rights of the deprived people of Gilgit-Baltistan after 1988. Mr Khan is in exile in Brussels and his party BNF along with five other regional parties has been demanding independence from occupation of both China and Pakistan.