By: Dr. Satyavan Saurabh
The Pak government does not seem serious at all to stop the Corona epidemic and save its citizens. Instead, she has been able to form a puppet interim government by holding a general election in Gilgit-Baltistan under a recent decision of the Supreme Court; India has strongly opposed the decision, with Pakistani human rights activists illegally contesting the region. Karak has called Islamabad’s move to consolidate its hold on Gilgit-Baltistan extremely condemnable, urging a boycott of sponsored elections.
What’s the issue?
It extends to China in the north, Afghanistan in the west, Tajikistan in the northwest, and Kashmir in the southeast. It shares a geographical border with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and India considers it a part of undivided Jammu and Kashmir, while Pakistan views it as separate from PoK. It has a regional assembly and an elected chief minister. Gilgit-Baltistan has served as a “Provincial Autonomous Region” since 2009. In addition, India has stated that the entire union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including Gilgit and Baltistan, are integral to India on the basis of its full legal and irrevocable accession.
The entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, including the so-called ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’, remains an integral part of India. The Government of Pakistan or the judiciary has no locus stand on the areas illegally and forcibly occupied by it. There is no legal basis for any action by Pakistan to change the status of these occupied territories. Pakistan declared the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region its fifth province in 2017. Gilgit-Baltistan is a part of Jammu and Kashmir and any such move will seriously harm the Kashmir case of Pakistan.
The two United Nations resolutions of August 13, 1948, and January 5, 1949, clearly established a link between the GB and Kashmir issue. Making the region its fifth province will thus violate the Karachi Agreement; UN resolutions will damage its position on the Kashmir issue. Any such move would be in violation of the 1963 Pak-China border agreement which calls for sovereign right to reopen negotiations with China after the settlement of Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India and the 1972 Shimla Agreement There is mention that “neither” side will change the situation unilaterally “.
Political activists have accused Pakistan of changing the demography of Gilgit Baltistan and contradicting its commitments to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). Islamabad has gradually weakened its constitution to allow outsiders to grab land and resources of illegally occupied areas. Islamabad abolished the state subject rule in Gilgit Baltistan in 1984, resulting in demographic changes in the region. People from different parts of Pakistan are free to buy land there. It has encroached on the land of Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir and has illegally pushed China forward here.
Currently, Gilgit-Baltistan is neither a province nor a state. It has semi-provincial status. Near Islamabad robs local people from resources to exploit resources and cash in the region’s geo-strategic benefits. This deprives them of jobs and services. It has never paid royalties on local water resources. All these activities are illegal and not acceptable. The erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir was divided due to the design of the expansionists of Pakistan.
Since then people have been bearing an endless irony under Pakistan’s undemocratic rule. Education, health, infrastructure, and society have been destroyed. Natural resources have long been plundered. There is no employment for educated youth. The Pakistani military is believed to have systematically conducted operations to keep the people of Gilgit Baltistan and PoK underdeveloped and deprived. Most of the educated people have also been recruited by the Inter-Services Public Relations to campaign in favor of the Pakistani establishment and this is a very dangerous incident.
The China Factor: –
The question is why Pakistan is holding elections there. Actually, he is under pressure from his close friend China. 634 km of Gilgit-Baltistan is surrounded by China and passes through the Pak-China Economic Corridor. As India asserts its claim on this part, China wants to avoid any dispute. Pakistan wants to provide legitimacy to the region to fulfill its interests by holding general elections there and wants to keep China happy at all costs. Anyway, this area is very important for Pakistan and China in strategic terms. There is pressure on Pakistan to declare Gilgit Baltistan as its province so that China can handle its work.
India’s position and concerns: –
The Indian move to reclaim the region for India will be opposed not only by Pakistan but also by China, which is digging into the region to build a cushion amidst the jihadist spoil lands of its ally Pakistan Could. Therefore, the Chinese have been active in many hydroelectricity and road construction projects, such as the Neelum Valley, the Diyar Bhasha Dam, the extension of the Karakoram Highway, Coast Dry Port, Bunji Dam, etc. China announced large-scale investment, now called the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, India again protested as the corridor passed through Gilgit-Baltistan. The corridor will include oil pipelines, roads, and a railway connecting Gwadar to Kashgar in Balochistan.
We need to claim our rights in this area and bring in international human rights forums. Along with supporting the exploited people in that region, it is important to get both political and economic support. We need to give them reserved seats for Gilgit Baltistan in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly. The people of India are also expecting the Modi government to take concrete steps to free Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan from Pakistan’s occupation.
Proposals in this regard have also been passed in Parliament. While removing Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had pledged to hoist the tricolor there, describing Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan as part of India. India will have to take advantage of the changing situation and take the entire territory of Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan from Pakistan’s clutches and join Jammu and Kashmir and fulfill the dream of a united India.