GAHKUCH: Local leaders of Balawaristan National Front (BNF) here said that time has come the people of Gilgit-Baltistan stood up for their rights, adding further pushing the main issues of the region to the wall would not be in the interest of the nation. Speaking at a press conference in Gahkuch, the BNF leaders including Shakor Khan Advocate, Mehboob Ali Adv, former district president Qayyum Khan Balawaristani said if the people of the region did not rise, they would never be given their basic rights in a platter. They said that the political parties of Gilgit-Baltistan who came to power have failed to become a spokesman for the rights of the masses.
They said those political alders who prefer their vested interest on that of the nation can never be loyal or sincere to the cause of the people. “Time is changing fast, decisions relating to our future are being taken without taking us into confidence,” they warned.
The way our rights and resources are being violated and exploited by others is unprecedented. Those who are talking about making Gilgit-Baltistan the fifth province of Pakistan are living in a fool’s paradise. Had there been any room in the law to make Gilgit-Baltistan a province of Pakistan the rulers would not have waited for 68 years. The BNF leaders repeated that the issue of Gilgit-Baltistan has to be decided under the UN resolutions as it is a disputed territory and not only Islamabad but the international community has also accepted it as a disputed.
They said that when there are two laws, one made by a country and the other made by the UN, the international law always prevails. But the BNF leaders also said that they were in favour of the demand of the lawyers’ community that until the issue of Kashmir is not resolved under the UN resolutions, a political system like that given to Azad Kashmir should be introduced in Gilgit-Baltistan as an interim setup.
The BNF leaders also said that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan were being sidelined in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor projects. They said that in the project, the first stopping point of the caravans coming from China would be at Havelian after crossing the huge landmass of Gilgit-Baltistan. All the provinces of Pakistan are being given due shares in the project but Gilgit-Baltistan is being pushed aside even though the project cannot be completed without this region.
They said that the chief minister of KPK had already announced to wage a war against the federal government for giving his province less share in the CPEC but our leaders not being given ay importance. Even Gilgit-Baltistan was not invited to the initial all parties’ conference convened on CPEC in Islamabad in 2014.
The BNF leaders said all political parties of Gilgit-Baltistan remained in a deep slumber as they have no interest in public issues but protected their own interests. They said that the nationalist parties of the region were the first to raise the issue of CPEC. They demanded that handsome compensation should be given in accordance to the international laws to all those residents of Gilgit-Baltistan whose land would be used for the CPEC projects.
They also demanded that the federal government should not only pay compensation to the land owners in Diamer for the construction of the water reservoirs on their land but also the people of Gilgit-Baltistan should be taken into confidence on the mega project. They said that those who were raising voice for their rights were being harassed and arrested.
The members of nationalist political parties were rounded up and put behind bars for only trying to present a memorandum to the officials of the UN Commission on India Pakistan in Gilgit city. They said the Gilgit-Baltistan should be declared a tax-free zone on the formula of no taxation without representation.