Upheaval in Gilgit-Baltistan over Pakistan’s illegal occupation

The activist called the construction of the multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which passes through Gilgit Baltistan, illegal and demanded its construction be stopped.

As per a report by the news agency ANI, the local residents in Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan provinces, on Sunday, held a protest against the Pakistan government’s illegal occupation of their respective states. Activists from across the Gilgit-Baltistan areas assembled in Bagh district to stage a massive protest to demand Pakistan’s forceful occupation of their land.

As a part of a two-day convention of the United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP), the protest rally held also aimed to corner Pakistani government on the issues such as the construction of dams and other projects, which they claimed excluded indigenous people from the development work.

Addressing the activists in Bagh through telephone, exiled chairman of UKPNP, Sadar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, he appealed protestors to pressurise Pakistani regime to vacate their territory and revive the fundamental rights of aboriginal people. The activists, during the protest, raised grave concerns about serious environmental issues in PoK and Gilgit Baltistan due to the construction of dams and other infrastructure projects.

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Jamil Maqsood, UKPNP’s former central secretary of foreign affairs said: “Protestors demand the government of Pakistan to terminate construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam in Gilgit Baltistan and the violation of state subject rule in Gilgit Baltistan and some parts of Pakistan occupied Kashmir.”

The activists also demanded Pakistan to release all those Gilgit-Baltistan activists languishing in the prisons, including Baba Jan, who was incarcerated for peacefully demanding local development and the empowerment of local people in Gilgit Baltistan and Muzaffarabad.

Maqsood also claimed that diversion of Neelum-Jhelum, which is also known as Kishan Ganga in Jammu and Kashmir, has had a drastic ecological effect and adversely affected the people in Muzaffarabad. In addition, he stated that such infrastructural work by Pakistan is deteriorating the environment. The youth in the areas are not empowered but impoverished by such activities.

The activist called the construction of the multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which passes through Gilgit Baltistan, illegal and demanded its construction be stopped. Jamil urged regional powers in central Asia to use their influence to halt CPEC, which is not a pro-people project but a pro-military project that serves the strategic interests of the state of Pakistan.

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