- Mar 24, 2009
Everyone talks about the alleged "atrocities" by Indian forces in Kashmir. All these talks comes from only across our border from the west. However there is an area called Gilgit Baltistan in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, now illegally occupied by Pakistan where there has been dissent from the time of independence itself. Nothing from that region comes out in the media as its shut off from the rest of the world, while all media attention is focussed on the alleged atrocities in Kashmir by India.
Revolt Brewing in the so-called Northern Areas of Pakistan Occupied KashmirAmir Humza Qureshi says Northern Areas people facing more Human Rights Violations than anywhere else in the world
The part of the state of Jammu & Kashmir called the Northern Areas by Pakistan was annexed through an illegal attack in 1947 even before India and Pakistan became independent. This was possible due to the chicancery of the British who at that time controlled the two opposing armies. They ensured that the Pakistan flag was unfurled in Gilgit even before the British Government conferred independence on Pakistan. Ironically, the very Gilgit Scouts that unfurled the Pakistani flag in Gilgit, capital of the so-called Northern Areas, has long been disbanded because its Pakistani masters no longer trusted the people of Gilgit. While the legatees of those perfidious colonial Britishers continue to talk about justice for J&K, the people of the so-called Northern Areas continue to live in an area of utter political darkness. Even after 50 years of independence they remain a colonised people without the right to vote or exercise their democratic option in any other way. They remain shadowed in poverty and underdevelopment without recourse to basic human rights. The heirs of the same scoundrels who imprisoned Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last emperor of India, in Burma where he did not have two "gaz zameen" for his grave, have been enlisted by the illegitimate rulers of Pakistan to espouse the cause of Kashmir in international fora.
Pakistanis can only talk about elah - accession - and every Kashmiri group seeking help from Pakistan must promise to accede to Pakistan. Otherwise like the JKLF they will be killed and their sisters raped. This is the truth. And what is accession - it is to suffer the fate of the miserable millions in the so-called Northern Areas where even after 50 years, the Punjabi rulers and their agents continue to kill Muslims.
A prominent leader of Occupied Kashmir (only the Pakistani part of Kashmir can be considered occupied) has been abducted by the agencies and is currently under torture. His name is Shaukat Ali Kashmiri. Appeals by various individuals and organisations, including Amnesty International, have not secured his release. We appeal to you to write to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and ask him to take control of his dogs. But who will talk of all the others who have been silently killed by the Punjabis of Pakistan, who only see Gilgit as a good holiday resort? Much is happening in the last forgotten valleys of the so-called Northern Areas and by the grace of God the people of Northern Areas, shall find their destiny as a free people. They shall stand one day shoulder to shoulder with their brothers of Jammu & Kashmir and the followers of the great peers of this land, proud and free and masters of their own destiny.
Amir Humza Qureshi says Northern Areas people facing more Human Rights Violations than anywhere else in the world
Urdu daily Jasarat, the mouthpiece of the Jamaat-i-Islami, carried a long letter from emerging leader of Gilgit, Amir Humza Qureshi, rejecting the official propaganda about human rights violations in Indian side of Kashmir. "It is a fact that people of this region (northern areas) are facing more human rights violations and whenever the official media talks of repression in (Indian) Kashmir people with strong hearts laugh at this hypocritical attitude and people with weak hearts cry."
"India is not perpetrating even one hundredth part of the repression that people spread over an area of 28,000 miles have been facing for the past 50 years. The Indian Government has given people all their fundamental human rights and in spite of that they are in a state of confrontation against the government. But the people of this region (northern areas) are far behind the rest of the world in matters of fundamental human rights, justice and economic development."
The Pakistan Government says since northern areas are not a part of its territory it cannot give its people constitutional rights. But the people are not willing to stay like this anymore. The Balawaristan National Front (BNF) recently passed a resolution demanding autonomy for northern areas. Another party, the Muttehada Quami Party (MQP) wants a status like that of "Azad" Kashmir.
Shaukat Ali Kashmir Arrested & Tortured
Kashmiri political groups in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) have threatened state-wide agitation to press for the release of a pro-independence leader. Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, chairman of the United Kashmir People's National Party (UKPNP) based in POK, was picked up by men from the Pakistani security forces near Bagh on 18 January according to the Kashmir International Front (KIF) based here.
The London group is the international office for several political groups fighting Pakistani occupation of Kashmir. UKPNP secretary general Sardar Ishtiaq Hussain addressed a press conference in Bagh following the arrest of Shaukat Ali Kashmiri to warn of an agitation if the party leader is not released
The Kashmir International Front has sent SOS messages to several governments in Europe and to human rights institutions such as Amnesty International. The Geneve-based International Secretariat of the World Organisations Against Torture, which claims to be the largest network of human rights organisations in the world, has sent a letter of protest to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Its is ironic that the world is more worried about the falling trees; they are sad that our white leopard are vanishing day by day; the dead bodies of our Markhor frightens them; they are going all out to preserve our eco system.But nobody ever thinks of the people of this land," says Raja Hussain Khan Maqpoon, editor of K2, Gilgit-Baltistan's only newspaper, a weekly. The tinge of sarcasm in his comment is obvious in his publication too.
'This land' refers to Pakistan's Northern Areas, spread over 28,000 sq. miles with a population of two million, comprising Gilgit and Baltistan on the border of Azad Kashmir-a sensitive and strategic area from Pakistan point of view.
"They Have Never Trusted Us", says PoK Leader
'Sarzamin-Be-Ain Ki Awaz' (the voice of constitution-less land) flashes from K2 masthead, a brave attempt in a region where where everything is considered suspicious by the power-that-be. Even ordinary documents are jealously guarded an attempt by to get hold of the copies of the Northern Areas Council's (see fact files) Rules of Biasness, Rules of Procedure, Legal Framework and even their annual development plan (ADP) failed. Apparently, in the Northern Areas these Apparently documents. Elsewhere in the country, similarly documents are openly accessible.
From 1947 till 1972 the northern areas were governed by the FCR (Frontier Crimes Regulations), denying the locals even their basic rights. There is much resentment here at the fact the FCR remained in force 25 years after independence, until it was belatedly lifted by Z.A. Bhutto.
"They (the pakistan government) have never trusted us. From day one, that is , November 1, 1947, till now we cannot govern our own land. If we are given that right, they think all hell will break lose," says the fiery Amir Hamza, a resident of Gilgit and a former SSP of Gizr district.
Amir Hamza has been fighting for the rights of the people of Gilgit and Baltistan since his college days, 1967-71, when he and his friends formed Gilgit-Baltistan Jamhoori Mahaz. His family wanted him to join civil service but he knew he wont be happy there, being inclined towards politics. His party one point demand was: allow us participation in Pakistan National Assembly or give us status like Azad Kashmir Assembly. A demand for which Hamza was jailed various times in his youth.