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May 16, 2018

Farhatullah warns emergence of GB Tahaffuz Movement


May 16, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Former Senator Farhatullah Babar Tuesday warned against the emergence of Gilgit-Baltistan Tahaffuz Movement, as only coercive laws have been extended to Gilgit-Baltistan and why the human rights related laws were not extended to it.

“The people of GB pay all taxes, they are issued Pakistani CNICs and passports and also recruited in the army but were denied representation in the national parliament and the local legislative assembly was not allowed to make laws in critical areas,” he said at a seminar Tuesday organised by Shaheed Bhutto Foundation at the National Press Club Islamabad which was also addressed by human rights activist Marvi Sarmad, Amjad Hussain President PPP GB, Maulana Ataullah of JUI and speakers from Gilgit-Baltistan.

Farhatullah Babar said both physically and intellectually its people had been thrown into in a dark pit as it was neither connected to the national grid nor it had a board of secondary education. “The people of GB have been fed on false hopes, broken promises and utter lies,’ he said.

He said the people had seen through the falsehood and were asking that if rights were denied to them then why CPEC passed through it and Basha Dam project planned there. He said that the voice from the black hole of GB was not heard in Islamabad because human rights defenders like Baba Jan had been jailed for raising voice for the rights of people. He demanded withdrawal of politically motivated cases against rights activists.

He said that GB was denied autonomy even after 18th Amendment on the ground of 'disputed territory' but the 21st constitutional amendment was promptly extended for setting up of military courts. He proposed special seminars simultaneously in all provincial capitals and GB on the issue of silencing the voice of people of GB. Rejecting the proposed Empowerment Order 2018 he said it was insulting to the people that legislation powers were given one person in Islamabad who may even have never visited the area.

Farhatullah Babar said that a less talked issue was the massive displacement of populations by natural disasters and taking over of their lands for strategic reasons.

Syed Amjad Hussain said that citizens of the disputed Indian Held Kashmir have all rights as equal citizens and asked why the people of GB could not have their rights. He

called for empowering legislative assembly to legislate on all matters and representation of GB in NFC and CCI. Advocate Amjad Hussain said that only GB connected five countries of the region, as a great connector. “Afghanistan, Tajikistan, India, China and Pakistan, merge at one or another point of the region.”

He raised a question that, if Fata was given representation in the National Assembly and Senate, then how it is being avoided same representational right in the provincial assembly of KP.

He also demanded the immediate release of Baba Jan, rights activists. “We need only one Pakistan, not five or six setups of Pakistan within one state,” he said.

He also deplored that with the launch of CPEC, land-grabbing has emerged another serious issue in region, where local population is being deprived the ownership of their centuries old identity. “Our party’s upcoming manifestos would clear all questions on the status of GB and next phase of struggle for its rights,” he added.

Marvi Sarmad highlighted that from the platform of HRCP, the GB has been in the focus and on their radar with regards to mainstreaming. “Human Rights defender Asma Jehangir raised the concerns and grievances of GB from that platform time and again,” she added.

Quoting the recent proposed GB reforms named after Empowerment Order through Sartaj Aziz led committee, she borrowed the words of Justice ® Muafazar Ali, who termed the prime minister of Pakistan as the emperor of GB, with sweeping powers on administrative and legislative grounds.

She also quoted the landmark judgement of Al-Jehad Trust of Supreme Court of Pakistan that treats equally GB with the rest of Pakistan, which is treated unequal otherwise on various grounds.

Noted writer and analyst Ali Ahmed Jan stressed the mainstreaming of GB in the lines of Fata and raised that furthermore delay would create more misunderstandings.

He shared that in 1946, the word northern areas was coined for the first time, which deprived the region even its identity that was restored during the last PPP government with the naming of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Maulana Ataullah Shahab of JUI complained that since childhood, he had been listening the stories of GB rights and why its status is still unclear. “The youth uprising is brewing up all over GB, the day is not very far, when the same youth, would also march to the Islamabad, with a loud demand for their rights and equal status to its citizens,” he added.

Dr Sharif Astori complained that GB doesn’t need any package like any utility store of cellular service offers. He added that repeatedly we are being told that due to dispute of Kashmir, this land was also considered disputed as per international laws and standards. “Therefore, we are not ready to be subdued anymore by Muzaffarabad.”

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