GILGIT: On the call of the awami action committee, thousands of people from different walks of life gathered at Ghari Bagh here on May 1, and warned the regime to stop occupying land in Gilgit-Baltistan under the draconian khalsa sarkar law for the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to pass through the heart of the disputed territory.
The protest gathering was attended by all the religious and political parties who are members of the action committee.
Addressing the protest, action committee convener Maulana Sultan Raees challenged the chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, Hafiz Hafizur Rehman, to come face to face him and prove any of the points included in the charter of demands presented to the government for acceptance. He said that the federal and provincial governments think people of Gilgit-Baltistan as free loaders but he reminded Pakistan that it is the mountains and glaciers of Gilgit-Baltistan that irrigated the lush green agricultural land of Pakistan to feed the population of the whole country.
The action committee leader said that NAB was a national accountability department but unfortunately it was working as an umbrella to protect a particular political party. He asked NAB to carry out the accountability of all political parties and others without regards to their affiliations. Maulana Raees said that Gilgit-Baltistan was a disputed territory and not a geographical and constitutional part of Pakistan. And as such the law of Pakistan cannot be implemented here. He wondered under what law suspected terrorists were being shifted to Pakistan from Gilgit-Baltistan. He was perhaps referring to the shifting of three suspects from Gilgit to Adiala jail in Rawalpindi in connection with the killing of 10 tourists at the Nanga Parbat base camp a few years ago.
Referring to the members of the assembly, he said that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan had not voted you to increase unemployment and give jobs to your near and dear ones and cronies and enhance your own salaries by 200pc. He said that unless the people of Gilgit-Baltistan got united, they were going to get nothing as the local leaders in order to continue their loyalty with the federal rulers were not ready to render any sacrifice for them.
Speaking on the occasion, opposition leader in the Gilgit-Baltistan legislative assembly Shah Baig said that the people of the region were not ready to pay even a single rupee tax. He said that the people were waiting till the first meeting of the newly-elected Gilgit-Baltistan Council. If the tax money the people have already paid were not returned to them after the first meeting of the council, the masses would jam the whole region of Gilgit-Baltistan. He said that the federal government was imposing taxes o the people of Gilgit-Baltistan considering them weak but the rulers must know that our forefathers had won independence through their force in 1947 and put their independence in the lap of Pakistan.
The opposition leader said that it is 10 months since the PML-N government came to power but so far it has done nothing and failed to deliver. He said that 50pc royalty on the Diamer dam for Gilgit-Baltistan was unacceptable as the dam was being built in Gilgit-Baltistan and its 100pc royalty should be given to the area.
Shah Baig said that the land in Gilgit-Baltistan belonged to the people of the region and if the government needed it the government should pay proper compensation to the locals and acquire it for any project.
Those who also spoke on the occasion included PTI leader Hashmatullah, Javed Hussain of the PPP,
Karakoram national Movementâ€™s Muhammad Javed, Jaaat-e-Islami elader aula Abdul Sami, MLA Capt retired
Muhammad Shafi, high court bar association president Malik Kifayatur Rehmn and others.
They said that putting the names of people in the Fourth Schedule the government was trying to spread fears
among the masses. They said that Gilgit-Baltistan was a part of the Kashmir issue and till its resolution the
people of the region would not pay any tax.
In photo 4th from top from right is Safdar Ali of BNF and below 4th from Right is Mohammad Javed of