Needed ownership of CPEC…

By Our Correspondent……
KARACHI: Leaders of Balawaristan National front
(BNF) told a press conference here that out of the five
units of the disputed territory of Kashmir, Gilgit-
Baltistan has gained monumental geo-strategic
importance and become the most sensitive. They said
that because of its geographical location, rich natural
resources and location on the route of the China
Pakistan Economic Corridor, international powers were
also o Gilgit-Baltistan. However, despite all the geo-
strategic significance and other aspects, Gilgit-Baltistan
was always kept undeveloped and its people deprived
of basic political, economic, constitutional and basic
human rights for decades. The BNF leaders including
Mehboob Ali Advocate, Ali Ghulam and Afaq Blor said
the two million people of Gilgit-Baltistan were denied
their basic rights and socio-economic facilities for over
68 years due to the lack of sincere leadership and
opportunists tendencies among the federalist parties.
They said that initially a so-called northern areas
council was set up in Gilgit-Baltistan which was devoid

of any powers. Then the people of the disputed region
were kept on empty promises and hoodwinked through
the enforcement of legal framework order, legal
framework roles and business. Then came the so-called
advisory council for northern areas. Later, the people of
the region were deceived by the federal government
with the claim to upgrade the council to a legislative
council. In the year 2009, through a presidential order
the so-called autonomy and self rule order was
introduced through a presidential order and the
government claimed to empower the people by turning
the council into a legislative assembly. This assembly is
as powerless as the council was in the past and all the
powers are still vested with the ministry of Kashmir
affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan, the BNF leaders added. The
BNF leaders said that keeping in view the changing
geo-political situation and the rising importance of
Gilgit-Baltistan, their party was proposing some
recommendations without which the future governance
system in the region would not be able to deliver in
accordance with the expectations of the people. The
BNF leaders said that under the UN resolutions the
territory of Gilgit-Baltistan is still disputed and its
status is yet to be determined through a plebiscite. They
said that being members of the UN, China and Pakistan
should respect the UN resolutions and before launching
any mega project in the area they should recognize the
disputed status of Gilgit-Baltistan. They said that
Gilgit-Baltistan should not only be accepted as a

stakeholders but the owner of the CPEC and its people
should be given all the facilities as the owner of the
project. The BNF leaders demanded that economic
zones under the CPEC should be set up in all the seven
districts of Gilgit-Baltistan. They also demanded that
the all the people of Gilgit-Baltistan who have affected
by the Diamer dam should be given should be given
employment in the dam administration. The people of
Gilgit-Baltistan should be provided free electricity from
the Diamer dam, the royalty for the dam should be fully
given to Gilgit-Baltistan, not to KP under the pretext of
Bhasha. They warned that if Pakistan tried to make
Gilgit-Baltistan as its fifth province, it would leave a
very negative impact on the issue of Kashmir, Pakistan
even cannot merge Gilgit-Baltistan into any of its
provinces or the tribal areas. They said that the BNF
was of the view that until the issue of Kashmir is
resolved, Gilgit-Baltistan should be given internal
autonomy. They said Gilgit-Baltistan should be
independent in running its own affairs and only defence,
foreign affairs and currency should be managed by
Islamabad. Even then, they said that Pakistan cannot
give Gilgit-Baltistan representation in its parliament
and either can impose taxes on the people of the region.

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