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Gilgit-Baltistan is threatened with cultural destruction




Federal government exercises vice-like control over strategically important and resource-rich territory since the partition of the country

The Pakistani English daily Dawn recently published an interesting report regarding the Chinese government’s contribution of 30,000 packets of food to be distributed among underprivileged communities in Gilgit-Baltistan. The packages were delivered to Khalid Khursheed, chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan which belongs to Imran Khan’s ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party.

The need for food packages arose because the region is under the debilitating effects of runaway inflation. Of course, the whole of Pakistan suffers from a huge shortage of financial resources and resources, but while the rest have the means to stay afloat, places like Gilgit-Baltistan, already under the weight of the extreme poverty, are literally being torn apart. How lucky are these people when even the lower and middle income classes struggle to afford basic food items? On top of that, the Corona outbreak severely affected the small business activity that was taking place in the area. People have taken to the streets to force the government to curb soaring inflation. They openly accuse the ruling PTI and in particular its leader, Prime Minister Imran Khan, whom they define as unscrupulous and inept. However, the protest does not pay any dividends since there is no one to listen to their voice, the media being placed behind an iron wall. It is only the vibrant diaspora in the region raising a voice, but the same voice is very small and too far away to make a difference in the daily life of the common man. It is so disgusting that the proud inhabitants of Gilgit-Baltistan, who are hard-working, honest and fully able to take care of themselves, as well as the proud heirs of vast natural resources, have been reduced to a level where they must subsist on an allocation of food from a foreign power. The enthusiastic thanks that Chief Minister Khalid Khursheed addressed to the Chinese for this allocation was akin to putting salt on the wounds of the extreme humiliation of his people. the Chinese, whose increased presence in the region, to the extent of permanent settlement, has become a necessity since the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is occupied exclusively by them. The few inhabitants who can be employed in small menial jobs will have to learn the Chinese language for which many centers have opened in the region. The process of settling the Chinese has already started with the tacit permission of the puppet government; it is a question of welcoming these foreigners and giving them a “minority status”. It is only a matter of time before the Chinese arrive in sufficient numbers to change the demographics of the region. The Xinjiang model of turning the ethnic population into a minority and becoming insignificant will also be applied here. The political machinations of the federal government in power also take a worrying turn. In December 2020, Prime Minister Khan formed a 12-member committee to make recommendations on changing the status of Gilgit-Baltistan to a province of Pakistan. The PTI has already secured a raw majority in the Legislature through outright vote rigging with the active backing of the Pakistani military, and it is now using the same majority to pass a joint resolution calling on the federal government to the nation to grant it the status of a province. and ensure its representation in Parliament and other constitutional bodies. The resolution supporting the committee’s mandate was personally presented by Chief Minister Khalid Khursheed, which is sufficient indication of the importance the ruling party places on it. Incidentally, there are a lot of corruption allegations against the chief minister himself, in one astonishing case he is accused of saving half of a spent Rs 100 crore budget to provide water drinking at the town of Gilgit. How can one count on a corrupt politician of this nature to watch the welfare of the people. Aid for the defense of the constitutional rights of the people comes from India, whose diplomatic channels have openly denounced the treacherous attempts of the Pakistani government to grant provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan in order to legalize the illegal occupation of the region. . The position taken by India is “the firm rejection of all attempts by Pakistan to make material changes to part of Indian territory which is under the illegal and forced occupation of Islamabad and the initiation of measures to immediately evacuate these areas “. Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MEA). “Such attempts by Pakistan, aimed at camouflaging its illegal occupation, cannot conceal the serious human rights violations, exploitation and denial of liberty for more than seven decades from those residing in these territories occupied by Pakistan. “Srivastava said. The federal government exercises vice-like control over the strategically important and resource-rich territory since the partition of the country, while giving the impression to the world that it supports the people’s right to self-determination. Since 2009 he has thrown caution to the winds and worked to merge the region as an integral province. The aforementioned steps are designed to shift provincial status and further strengthen hold over the region. It is also the result of the compulsion to help China take control and thus divert its attention from the dismal failure of the CPEC. Overall, under Imran Khan, Pakistan is playing a very evil game in Gilgit-Baltistan. The other rulers also never had much time for the hapless in this region, but what Imran Khan does will lead to their annihilation as a distinct racial and cultural entity and reduce them to the level of serfdom. India must remain true to the principled position it has taken in helping the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. Consistency in the application of pressure holds the key to success in this war for justice.

The writer is a senior journalist and thought leader




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