Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 22
Leaders of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, who are here for the first time after participating in a seminar, have sought to turn the spotlight on Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) region, and blamed both India and Pakistan for the continued neglect of the region. Many of the POK leaders met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran on May 20 and urged the Government of India to do more for the GB region.
At a just-concluded seminar on “Jammu and Kashmir - Alternative futures”, held at Manesar (Haryana) near here, Mr Manzoor Hussain Parwana, Chairman of the Gilgit-Baltistan United Movement, said people living in GB disagreed with the name of Northern Areas given by Pakistan because the name itself was a strategy to isolate GB from the Kashmir issue. He pointed out that GB did not find mention in either the Pakistani or Indian constitution.
Mr Parwana even went to the extent of stating that deployment of Pakistani troops in GB was illegal and violative of the UN Resolution. “Pakistan talks of demilitarisation, but GB has seen a continuous increase in forces,” he argued.
Another speaker from GB, Mr Ali Khan Shafqat, said the All-Party Hurriyat Conference was not representative of the GB region and the APHC was “not qualified to negotiate on our behalf.”
Mr Adalat Ali of the United Kingdom-based Kashmir National Identity Campaign, opined that people of the GB had been absolutely ditched by the Indian state”.
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