|Senge H Sering addressing the event|
The event titled “Vote for Freedon” was organized by Rallying for Democracy. Keynote speakers included Congressman Jim Moran, Congresswomen Leslie Byrne, Congressman Gerry Connolly, Dr Quan Nguyen (Chairperson of Rallying for Democracy) and the representative of the Governor of Virginia.
“Freedom is a blessing but it is also the birth right of every human. The United Nations’ Charter on Human Rights guarantees economic, cultural, religious and political freedom to each individual. However, many signatories including Pakistan and China are violating the covenant by denying such rights to the minorities in their occupied territories. I belong to Gilgit-Baltistan, a disputed region under Pakistani control; where the UN peacekeeping forces are urgently needed to protect the lives, honor and property of the natives,” he said.
“Pakistan is pursuing the policies of religious and linguistic assimilation and cultural destruction in Gilgit-Baltistan which the Chinese have carried in Tibet, East Turkestan and the Inner Mongolia for decades. The destructive policy helps change social demography as Pakistani citizens are encouraged to take up jobs and lucrative businesses in Gilgit-Baltistan. While locals are barred from promoting commercial ties in India and Afghanistan; closure of border also keeps ethnic and linguistic groups divided and weak,” Senge Sering said.
Talking about recent spate of sectarian clashes, he said “The terrorists sponsored by the Pakistani intelligence agencies target locals leading to large scale massacres. In the last few months, more than 100 people of Gilgit-Baltistan have lost their lives for demanding religious rights. The terrorist groups force natives to abandon their culture and traditions in the name of upholding conservative Arabized Islam. The worsening health of the Pakistani economy and political structure has increased leverage and negotiating power of these militant groups, who now dictate their terms to the government and the media. Pakistani school texts and the media encourage hatred towards the minorities, which is also affecting Gilgit-Baltistan. As we talk, hundreds of local political activists including Iftikhar Hussain and Ameer Khan are facing sedition charges, detention and torture by the intelligence agencies”.
He said that “the ongoing military partnership of Pakistan and China will have its fallout on the people of Gilgit-Baltistan in the form of increase in military presence, increase in the intensity of oppression against the natives and destruction to the environment and social fabric. Whether it is Tibetans, Uighurs, Mongolians, Vietnamese, Burmese or the people of Gilgit Baltistan; China’s growing military and economic strength reduces space for the minorities and increases leverage for her allies. Therefore, it has become vital for the minorities to unite to persuade the government of the United States of America to change her policies and extend moral and financial support to the indigenous people.
He requested the US media, the legislature and the government to extend support to the freedom lovers of Gilgit-Baltistan and rescue them from Pakistani colonialism. He also requested the citizens of USA to vote and help return those candidates to the congress who express solidarity with the minorities in China and Pakistan. Sering urge the American government to end financial support to Pakistan and declare her a country of particular concern (CPC).