The seminar on the human rights situation and constitutional impasse in Pakistan administered Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan was organized by Center for Peace & Democracy- a Canadian think tank.
Mumtaz Khan, Executive Dirctor Centre for Peace & Democracy , Michael Pander Chairman Environmental Securities International, Tarek Fateh President of Muslim Canadian Congress a, Dr.Nazir Gilani Seretary General JKCHR, Abdul Hamid Khan Chairman Balwaristan National Front and Sering Senge President Institute for Gilgit Baltistan Studies addressed the event which was attended by the different NGOs and human rights delegates.
Mumtaz Khan said that challenges to human rights lie in the nature of control Pakistan exercise on Muzafarabad and Gigit Baltistan that includes constitutional and extra-constitutional, and direct and indirect over political, financial and cultural affairs of these Areas.
“This new form of indirect control started in the form of Interim Act of 1974, authored by Pakistan and implemented by its political outfits, has completely marginalized the role of people and POK Assembly, he added.
He asserted that the creation and composition of Kashmir Council that empowered non-state subject Pakistani nationals to take charge of every affairs of Pakistan controlled Kashmir. Unless relationship is redefined, and political, constitutional and economical powers are transferred to Muzafrabad government people and government of Pakistan controlled Kashmir will not only be marginalized, underrepresented and a subservient to Islamabad’s Interests but irrelevant to the POK Affairs.
Noted author Mr. Tarek Fateh said that Pakistan’s presence in Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan was violation of UN resolutions, no matter what Pakistan government and its media claims; but text of UNCIP resolutions cannot be changed that clearly asked Pakistan to vacate the territory and India to keep its some forces there.
He said that a country that discriminated its own citizens based on color, language and ethnicity has no moral, political and legal claim on any part of Kashmir. He said that two-nation theory had buried with the independence of Bangladesh those were pioneer in making Pakistan but suppressed by Punjabis and Urdu speaking elite and humiliated and killed them for demanding rightful place and role in then Pakistan.
Dr. Nazir Gilani said that human rights are holistic approach that addresses every aspect human dignity and any practice or law that violates human dignity is violation of all human rights.
He said that author of militancy in Kashmir were responsible to the death of generation and culpable to the criminal offense they had committed. He raised the issue of child soldier in Kashmir militancy, which needs to be brought to the UN and criminal courts’ attention to punish the author of militancy. He further said that Kashmir exists beyond valley and people under other administrations suffer due to strict control of Islamabad but goes unnoticed by the international community.
He said that Indian government is responsible to protect the life, property and dignity of people of entire state Jammu& Kashmir under the agreement of instrument of accession and failing to meet responsibility is breach of agreement.
Mr. Abdul Hamid Khan condemned the killings1of 8 civilians in the public last week by terrorist based on their sect and called it government engineered killings that now trying to divert the attention from real culprits by accusing India, US and Israel and his party. He demanded the immediate and impartial inquiry about these killings to expose real hands behind these killings.
He said that Pakistan is in illegal occupation of Gilgit Baltistan and has to comply with UNCIP resolutions to resolve this issue. He was critical to the so-called Gilgit government that has no role or powers to make any decsion regarding the Gilgit Baltistan since all powers lie with Islamabad.
Mr. Sering Senge warned the international community about the growing presence of f China’s presence and its future implications on South Asian region and urged them to take notice of Chinese designs.
He said that according to the reports Pakistan and China were in the process of discussing the leasing Gilgit Baltistan to China that could have disastrous consequences for regional geo-politics and local residents. People of Gilgit Baltistan already suppressed under the colonial control and are further terrorized by the state and non-state actors not to question illegal control of Islamabad. Mr. Senge raised the issue of illegal detentions and sedition cases registered against the nationalist leaders and activists in Gilgit Baltistan that Islamabad using to silence their voices.
Mr. Michael Pander raised the issue of environmental security with regard to the Chinese mining and other projects in Gilgit Baltistan and if China complying with the international standards or not.
He opined that rule of law and democracy go hand in hand and without one other cannot be achieved. He said that Gilgit Baltistan lacks democratic structure and rule of law that needs to be strengthened and encouraged but only by empowering the local people in decision-making and government making.