Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Gilgit Baltistan may become a battleground for imperial powers

Gilgit Baltistan may become a battleground for imperial powers

Dr Shabir Choudhry    16 October 2012

While talking to students of Gilgit Baltistan Dr Shabir Choudhry said:

Gilgit Baltistan is legally and constitutionally part of State of Jammu and Kashmir; and those who deny this fact, are either naive about history of Jammu and Kashmir or are agents of forces of occupation. In my considered opinion, the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is occupied. Regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh are occupied by India and regions of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan are occupied by Pakistan.

I believe people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir are denied of fundamental human rights on both sides of the forced division; and those who are fighting forces of occupation and ate promoting rights of the people are commendable. Jammu and Kashmir, including Gilgit Baltistan is disputed and people of the former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir must be given a right to determine their future without any fear or restrictions.

It must be noted that when we say ‘Kashmir dispute’ we mean the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir as it existed on 15 August 1947. The Kashmir dispute is not religious or territorial in nature. The dispute is political and must be resolved by a process of dialogue by making true representatives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir part of this process.

In a reply to question of Aijad Ali, Dr Shabir Choudhry said, my struggle is for united and independent Jammu and Kashmir; and my strong wish is that Gilgit Baltistan is also part of this independent country. However, if people of Jammu and Kashmir, without any force and coercion, decide not to be part of our independent country, I will not oppose their united will; as this would be similar to policy of Pakistani officials who say they will support people of Jammu and Kashmir’s right to determine their future provided they join Pakistan.

Nevertheless, government of Pakistan has no right to annex Gilgit Baltistan by force or by some other ploy, as this region is legal and constitutional part of my country; and we will resist imperialist moves to annex Gilgit Baltistan. However, until the Kashmir dispute is resolved people of Gilgit Baltistan must not be deprived of their fundamental rights, including economic and political rights.

Those who signed the Karachi Pact and supported it by leaving people of Gilgit Baltistan at the mercy of the Pakistani agencies and establishment were agents of Pakistan. They gave away Kashmiri territory to our neighbour, who oppressed people and denied them of fundamental human rights. I can appreciate anger and frustration of the people of Gilgit Baltistan because they were left alone to suffer for many decades; but they should understand that ordinary people of Azad Kashmir and that of Jammu and Kashmir care for them even though because of occupation and oppression they could not practically help their fellow countrymen divided and separated by force.

In reply to another question Dr Shabir Choudhry said it is not for me to say who is right and wrong, as far as the problems Balawaristan National Front is concerned. Both Hamid Khan and Nawaz Naji are friends and are respectable. They both have struggled in their own way, and they continue to promote and fight for the rights of the people. I hope that people of Gilgit Baltistan will appreciate struggle of the nationalist leaders and work to expose designs of those who occupy us.

Kashmir National Party delegation visited Gilgit Baltistan in 2010 and met leaders belonging to Gilgit Baltistan which included Nawaz Naji and Baba Jan, and many local people and students. It was there we learnt that some local people have independence of Gilgit Baltistan as their first choice, and becoming part of united and impendent Jammu and Kashmir as their second choice.

Gilgit Baltistan is not only strategically important to many countries with imperialist aims; it is also full of natural resources which belong to us and people of Gilgit Baltistan. Exploitation of these resources by forces of occupation must stop and granting of different areas on lease to Chinese must end. All those areas which are already leased out, people of Gilgit Baltistan must have control over all matters related to that; and must benefit from local resources.

Imperialist powers always look for new markets and areas which have natural resources. Because Gilgit Baltistan is full of natural resources and strategically it is of immense importance, imperialists are jockeying for position in this region, hence a new chapter of the Great Game has ensued. I am deeply concerned that imperialist powers may make our region battleground for the new war in order to control this region and benefit from the strategic position and natural resources.

Writer is a political analyst and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs.

1 comment:

Owais Yousuf said...

After reading your above article, I am surprised that we dont have people like you from this part of Kashmir (IOK) who can speak so bluntly against pakistan. Candidly speaking when people raise slogans of hum kya chathay in this part of Kashmir,trust me we dont mean Azadi for the other half of kashmir. I am still waiting for the day when we will speak in one voice but as of now that day looks no where on the horizon.