Saturday, 6 June 2015
Sham Elections in Gilgit Baltistan Dr Shabir Choudhry
Sham Elections in Gilgit Baltistan
Dr Shabir Choudhry 06 June 2015
Sham Elections in Gilgit Baltistan are held not to empower people of this unfortunate region but to strengthen Pakistani hold there. Pakistani presence in Gilgit Baltistan is illegal, unconstitutional and against the wishes of the people.
Areas of Gilgit Baltistan are legally not part of Pakistan. According to legal and constitutional position these areas are part of former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir; and like the rest of the areas of the Jammu and Kashmir State, future of Gilgit Baltistan is also to be determined by people.
Therefore, Pakistani presences and rule in Gilgit Baltistan is that of an imperialist power; and their hitherto shameful record is evidence that they regard this region as their colony, and they think they have a right to oppress, kill, loot and plunder resources of this region to satisfy greed of Pakistani elite and military junta.
Pakistan has no right to appoint any Governor there or meddle in affairs of this region. These ‘elections’ they are holding are not to benefit people of Gilgit Baltistan, but to fulfil their imperialist agenda; and to provide sanctuaries to ‘good Taliban and ‘good terrorists’ that they could be used in future to advance Islamabad’s agenda abroad.
All major political parties of Pakistan are treating this region as their hunting ground to get maximum share of the booty. Local nationalist parties are marginalised and treated unfairly. First they don’t have the financial muscle to compete with Pakistani parties who have tons of ill-gotten money. Secondly they don’t have support of Pakistani imposed government and administration.
Pakistan has a long history of rigging elections in Pakistan and in their colonies of so called Azad Kashmir and in Gilgit Baltistan. So, results of these sham elections are obvious – Pakistani Parties will ‘win’ majority of the seats and nationalists like Nawaz Naji and Baba Jan may win.
Nationalist leaders like Col (R) Nadir Hassan Khan and others arranged a peaceful rally, and demanded that Gilgit Baltistan should also be made a party to China Pakistan Economic Corridor which runs across our region before it enters Pakistan.
The police used force to disperse this peaceful march and arrested people who were charged under sections that apply to people involved in terrorist activities. According to the news army was also called in to ensure that this peaceful small demonstration is properly controlled and charged with appropriate sections of anti terrorist laws. The police arrested Col Nadir Khan, Safdar Ali and many others and charged them under PPC 34, 123 A, 124A, 324, 6/7.
Some Pakistanis and their mouthpieces in Gilgit Baltistan and in Azad Kashmir claim there is no opposition to the Pakistani rule in Gilgit Baltistan and that people are happy with what Pakistan is doing there. I am producing some reaction shown by the local people.
Former Chairman of All Parties National Alliance Wajahat Khan expressed his reaction by saying that:
‘They have openly challenged our history, heroes and identity of Gilgit Baltistan ....you cannot scare us by giving death sentence to Baba Jan, Iftikhar Hussain and now threatening Col[R] Nadir Hassan Khan ,Safdar Ali and others ...if you touched the skin of above said leaders....then wait for our revenge which world history will remember.....my final call to release all GB above brave and daring political leaders/activists for your own survival in GB....otherwise we know how to kick out our oppressors...hope you will realize soon mistake done.....we[GB] believe in respect....do respect and get respect in return.....or if shown enmity ....Do not forget our history and war warriors.
Another leader from Gilgit Baltistan, Hamid Khan, Chairman of BNF expressed his view as follows:
‘We condemn Pakistani state terrorism, which has tortured Political leaders by using its Joint Investigation Team (Including ISI, MI, Police and many others Paki agents) whose task is to torture indigenous people to keep their occupation as long as possible. We condemn the Police brutality in which a Pakistani national ASP who has been deputed after Zardari so-called package had tortured the detainees in open public. This is Pakistani occupation we want to free from their clutches
Another political activist Imdad Rono Sama expressed his views like this:
‘Punjabistani police beating innocent citizens of Gilgit Baltistan. We are not scared of army or anyone else. We have right to peaceful protest. If you will not change your behaviour we will kick out you from our homeland. Do not tease us more.... You people hurt Pathans, Balochis, Sindhies and now you are trying to treat us like your slaves.... ask your elders about our history if we get united then your weapons will not work in GB. Release all innocent people of GB specially the great son Col (R) Nadir Hassan khan, son of our national hero Col Mirza Hassan Khan. We totally condemn this act. We do not fear to defend our homeland. Do not underestimate us. We were peaceful and we are peaceful, but we know how to kick out the outsiders who want to make us fool. Long live Gilgit Baltistan.
Another political activist from Gilgit Baltistan, Tamojin Khan, said:
"By victimising Baba Jan, the state has confirmed only what the people of GB have known for decades — that anyone who speaks truth to power is singled out and accused of undermining the sacred ‘ideology of Pakistan’. That the residents of GB continue to be deprived of basic constitutional rights; that they are dismissed as appendages of the ‘Kashmir problem’; that huge ‘developmental’ interventions which dramatically affect their lives (the Kashgar-Gwadar Road most recently) are initiated without any meaningful consultation — these are facts of life that GB’s long-suffering people are supposed to accept. Baba Jan has chosen not to keep silent like so many others, and his reward is jail”.
Of course in the above quotes, some of the words are strong and express true reaction of the people. Pakistani leaders and rulers need to understand that Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir are not part of Pakistan. Just because you lost East Pakistan due to your follies it does not mean that you annex these areas that DONOT belong you.
I know strategically and economically these areas are very important, not only to Pakistan but to other countries as well. If you do not act wisely, you may find that in near future not only you will lose these areas; but you will endanger future of Pakistan. So it is best to abandon imperialist and jihadi policies and concentrate to save what is legally part of Pakistan.
Writer is a political analyst, TV anchor and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email:drshabirchoudhry@gmail.