Massive protests against Pakistan in Gilgit Baltistan

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A large gathering of members of a regional political party, the Awami Action Committee and rights activists gathered in Gilgit’s capital, Gilgit, to protest Pakistan’s policies, which they describe as intrusive, exploitative and discriminatory.

Gilgit (Gilgit Baltistan): There have been continuous protests against Pakistan in the illegally occupied territory of Gilgit Baltistan.

A large gathering of members of a regional political party, the Awami Action Committee and rights activists gathered in Gilgit’s capital, Gilgit, to protest Pakistan’s policies, which they describe as intrusive, exploitative and discriminatory.

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The event marked an intense indigenous resistance to Islamabad’s vigorous efforts to expand its political control over the illegally occupied territory.

Locals fear that the policies being enacted in the name of empowering the region are actually a diabolical design to change the demographics of the area and systematically secure the land ownership of the local people.

In the latest move, Pakistan has paved the way for non-natives to gain lease-based control over hotels and land in the region.

Locals say that they will never allow such anti-national policies to be implemented as they were neither considered nor consulted during the policy-drafting process.

“They don’t take us into confidence when decisions are taken about our area. They don’t ask us if the decisions taken by them are acceptable to us. The issue is about mining in our area, minerals in our area, and lease. of our land. They take things from us and give them to other provinces. This has also led to a sharp rise in unemployment in the region,” Fida Hussain, President of Awami Action Committee, Gilgit-Baltistan said.

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Pakistan, which illegally annexed the region after the British-India Partition and has been plundering its resources for the past seven decades, has in the last few years carried forward its agenda of exploitation.

First, it decided to unilaterally grant Gilgit Baltistan the status of a provisional Pakistani province and then further its political agenda by introducing a barrage of policies, primarily aimed at taking away even the bare minimum of the wealth of the people.

It has tried to persuade the local people through political gimmicks and false promises, but this has been rejected by informed locals. They allege that the revenue collected by the government is distributed among the top political and bureaucratic brass and the common man is left in abject poverty.

“What we do know is that the resources of Gilgit Baltistan are exploited and distributed in the upland areas. And all this in order to secure control over the lease of PTDC (Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation) hotels in the drama area. It has been written. We, the Awami Action Committee, have rejected such a draft and package being given to us on the pretext of provisional provincial status. And until we fail it, we will continue our struggle.”

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Pakistan is passing through its worst economic phase. And instead of addressing the major factor of policy paralysis that is responsible for its steadily declining graph, it is meeting a large part of its needs by indiscriminately exploiting illegally occupied territories.

However, the local people have resolved to fight this time and have said that they are not going to give up under any circumstances.

First published:October 21, 2021, 5:44 pm

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