Leaders of Pakistan-administered Gilgit and Baltistan have accused the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence of committing a series of human rights violations at the behest of the regime backed by President Pervez Musharraf.
Participating in a conference on Kashmir titled “Jammu and Kashmir: Alternative Futures”, in Manesar, Haryana, the leaders said India should refocus attention on Gilgit and Baltistan, which they claimed was facing popular unrest against Pakistani authorities due to large-scale anti-Shia violence that has taken a toll of over 100 lives so far.
The leaders claimed that violence by Pakistani security forces against the Shia majority in the region has continued unabated since the 1980s.
They demanded that leaders in India and Pakistan should take into account the concerns of Gilgit-Baltistan, which they claimed was a significant strategic area lying at the crossroads of the Indian subcontinent.
The focus of the two countries, they added, should not only be on the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, but also ensuring that Pakistani security forces act with utmost restraint and observe internationally acceptable human rights standards.
Manzoor Hussain Parwana, President of Gilgit-Baltistan Thinker Forum, said every Kashmir-centric step aimed at bringing peace to the region should provide solace to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.
“We have suffered too much. Demilitarisation and peace process should begin from those places where people have suffered the most. Authorities should make efforts to bring us to the same level as people in Pakistan and India so that we are able to interact with them. Until then, we stand nowhere. We are helpless,” said Parwana.
The problem of Gilgit-Baltistan or Balwaristan has two layers - political and sectarian. When Pakistan took over the administration, it revived the black laws called Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR). Under these regulations, the local population had no civil rights and any political activity was considered an unpardonable crime. This law was clearly meant to dehumanise the local people so they did not obstruct their activities. Shafqat Inqlabi, a young leader belonging to the Karakoram National Movement, accused ISI of serious human rights violations and penetrating region’s local organisations to spread violence and hatred. — ANI
Back to list