Monday, 7 September 2015

Junaid Qureshi says CPEC disastrous for Gilgit Baltistan

Junaid Qureshi says CPEC disastrous for Gilgit Baltistan
Asks Kashmiris to oppose the plan

London, 6 Sept 2015: Speaking at a Conference in London, organized by JK International People’s Alliance on ‘The China Pakistan Economic Corridor and its effects on the region’, Junaid Qureshi  (writer and Head Diplomatic Affairs JKDLP) has termed the construction of the CPEC as illegal as it runs through Gilgit Baltistan which is part of Jammu & Kashmir state and future status of which still needs to be decided according to the wishes of the people living in Jammu, Ladakh, the Kashmir Valley, Pakistan Administered Kashmir and indeed, Gilgit Baltistan.

He emphasized he is not averse to economic development, solutions to Pakistan’s growing economic crisis or the eradication of poverty, but he believes that the origins of this corridor can be traced back to the Border Agreement of 1963 in which Pakistan ceded more than 5000sq miles of Jammu & Kashmir to China. Junaid Qureshi further said that throughout its history there have been many attempts to change the demographics of Gilgit Baltistan and that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor is a new and deliberate attempt to change the demographics of the actual Kashmir-Issue.

“China’s investment of 46 billion dollars and the purchase of eight attack submarines and six patrol vessels by Pakistan, which will elevate China as Pakistan’s primal arms provider, have all the ingredients to exacerbate the complexities of the Kashmir-Issue, threaten peace and cement China’s stake in Jammu & Kashmir,” Qureshi said, adding any kind of solution to the long standing Kashmir-Issue will only be jeopardized by these kind of intrusions.

“Chinese investment of billions of dollars guarantees their strategic interests in Jammu & Kashmir and will de facto make it one of the largest stakeholders in the Kashmir-dispute,” he added.                   

He further said that the people in Gilgit Baltistan are not in need of such corridors of exploitation. “They are longing for their political liberties for the past 70 odd years. The economic potential of Gilgit Baltistan is such, that had the people been masters of their own destiny and not treated as a colony by Pakistan, Gilgit Baltistan could finance the complete construction of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor,” he said.
Giving details about the potential of Gilgit Baltistan, Junaid Qureshi said that there is an abundance of water resources, minerals worth billions of dollars and an ocean of undiscovered tourism potential in this part of Jammu & Kashmir.

“The region harbors 5000 glaciers, including three of the largest in the world outside of the polar regions and has almost 2500 glacial lakes. The potential of power is 52.000 MW, while the requirement of the indigenous population is just 150 MW,” he said.

Talking about the impact of the CPEC on environment and ecology, Qureshi said that toxic gasses by heavy traffic flow and construction works related to the establishment of this corridor will only enhance the melting of the world’s largest reservoir of fresh water glaciers. All the departments of forest, power, tourism and minerals are currently under the direct control of the Gilgit Baltistan Council, which is headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. All the minerals of Gilgit Baltistan will be used as raw material for the construction of this corridor without yielding any royalties or benefits to the local people living there. The proposed shifting of the Sost Dry port from Gilgit Baltistan to Havelian will also result in devastating loss of business for the inhabitants of Gilgit Baltistan.

He said that, while we Kashmiris protest land transfers and other conspiracies to change the demographics of Jammu & Kashmir State in Srinagar, we must also protest against the China Pakistan Economic Corridor as it is an attempt to further destabilize the region in general and the Kashmir-Issue in particular.

He said that, the people of Gilgit Baltistan are equal stakeholders in the Kashmir-Issue and Gilgit Baltistan is part of Jammu & Kashmir State. He emphasized that the 2 million people living in Gilgit Baltistan are as much Kashmiri as the Kashmiris living in other parts of J&K State.

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