India failed to raise voice for Gilgit and Baltistan: APNA




The miseries of the people of Gilgit and Baltistan in Pakistan's Northern Areas dominated the two-day conference here being held to find ways and means to solve the vexed issue of Jammu and Kashmir with some of the speakers even criticising India saying it has failed to speak for people of this region.

"When India talks about owning up the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, then why is New Delhi failing in its duty to raise the concerns of Gilgit and Baltistan in various international forums," Vice Chairman of All Party National Alliance (APNA) Wajahat Hussain told reporters after the end of the two-day conference being organised by an NGO, Institute of Conflict Management.

APNA is an amalgam of political parties from Gilgit and Baltistan, who have been opposing Pakistan's decision of annexing the area, and parties from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

The conference 'Jammu and Kashmir: Alternative Future', which saw participation for the first time of people from Gilgit and Baltistan, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Jammu and Kashmir, adopted some resolutions which included shunning of all kind of violence and urging India and Pakistan to respect and guarantee the full regime of civil and political rights of the people.

Referring to the Hurriyat Conference, Hussain said "we do not recognise any Hurriyat as there is no representation of people from Gilgit and Baltistan." The First hijacker in Asian aviation history and founder of JKLF Hashim Qureshi, criticised the Hurriyat Conference alleging that they were changing their colours like a "chameleon".

Qureshi alleged that the "Hurriyat is a hoax. They only want to hog the limelight and nothing else. They are not interested in solving the Kashmir issue as it is a big source of income for them." As the time for the second roundtable is approaching, the Hurriyat is giving enough indications that they would not like to participate in the conference, he said.

"They will get exposed if they share a dias with other representatives of Jammu and Kashmir," Qureshi, who was the only separatist leader present in the first roundtable conference, alleged.

Among other resolutions adopted at the meeting were that New Delhi should provide openings in higher professional and technical education institutions to deserving students from Gilgit-Baltistan and PoK, who are denied necesary facilities for such education.

The other resolution included that any solution of meaningful perspective on Jammu and Kashmir must accomodate the multiple identities of the state.

People-to-people contacts must be deepened, going beyond current symbolism and familiar contacts to comprehend meaningful trade and economic cooperation.

Trade routes, including the Leh-Tibet, the Karil-SKardu, Noushera-Kotli, Jammu-Sialkot routes, should be opened and fullest opportunities for the interaction of families and people provided, the resolution said.

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