BNF slams smear drive against nationalists

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GILGIT: The Balwaristan National Front (BNF) has said that some opportunist federalist political parties have launched a smear propaganda campaign against the nationalist party in order to achieve their own vested interests. In a statement issued from its central secretariat, the BNF said that the federalist elements were perturbed by the struggle of the BNF for the emancipation of the two million people of Gilgit-Baltistan and they were trying to create rifts between the people and the BNF. It said that the BNF had been fighting its case for the political rights of the people of the region and to make it sure that their identity was recognized at the national and international level. The BNF said that whenever it took up the case of Gilgit-Baltistan at the world level the federalists had no other tools to counter its struggle except leveling the allegations of traitors against the BNF. The federalists have adopted different tactics to gain their objectives. Sometimes they wear the cloak of religion/sects and then they start dancing to the tunes of the federal governments, it added. The BNF said that it had not opposed the China Pakistan Economic Corridor but demanded that Gilgit-Baltistan should be given its due share in the mega international project. The BNF said that Pakistan convened an all parties’ conference on the project in Islamabad but kept out the main stakeholder, Gilgit-Baltistan. “We are not ready to accept any decision on the project that is taken by Pakistan by keeping out the main stakeholder,” it added. The BNF said that PML-N leader and son-in-law of the prime minister should work for the resolution of the issues being faced by people in his area instead of indulging himself in luxuries. The politics of hypocrisy will not work for such politicians as even each and every child of Gilgit-Baltistan has become aware of their rights. The BNF also said that the PML-N should learn a lesson from the five-year rule of the PPP led by Mehdi Shah as just making promises during the elections would not be suffice and the ruling party would have to do something substantial regarding the basic political and constitutional rights of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. The BNF also said that at different times in the past Pakistani rulers compromised on the geographical integrity of Gilgit-Baltistan by handing over its land to China without taking the indigenous people into confidence. During the last about seven decades drone bombs were thrown on the people and now taxes were being imposed on the population even though the area has no representation in the parliament of Pakistan. Under the resolutions of the UN, the federal government is supposed to give subsidy on 23 food items to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan till its final status is determined, it added. The BNF said that it would continue raising voice for the rights of the people. It asked the rulers to withdraw all the concocted cases registered against the nationalists and released the political activists and rights defenders. Meanwhile, the Baltistan chapter of the BNF at a meeting also condemned the arrests and registration of cases against nationalist leaders and rights defenders and demanded that the cases should be withdrawn. In a press release, the BNF said that rulers were adopting strong-arms tactics to suppress the voice of the masses against injustices and for their due rights. It also condemned some local opportunists who always backed the outsiders in usurping the rights of the indigenous people in order to achieve their personal objectives.

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Abdul Hamid Khan is the chairman of Balawaristan National Front (BNF), a nationalist political party of Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit-Baltistan), which Pakistan had purposefully named as Northern Areas to keep its disputed status obscured. Chairman Khan started a political struggle for the human and political rights of the deprived people of Gilgit-Baltistan, after the year 1988. However, in the depoliticized region under the Pakistani bureaucratic establishment he faced many difficulties.

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