Tag Archives: Gilgit

Towards Understanding South Asia – A Comparative Study of Kashmir Conflict in Regional and Global Perspective

Nayyar N Khan is a US based political analyst, peace activist and a freelance journalist. His area of expertise is International Peace and Conflict Resolution.
Nayyar N Khan is a US based political analyst, peace activist and a freelance journalist. His area of expertise is International Peace and Conflict Resolution.

By Nayyar Niaz Khan

The State of Jammu Kashmir has been at the vanguards in India-Pakistan relations since the abrupt withdrawal of Great Britain from sub-continent and formation of two States. Since 1947 Pakistan and India have gone to war thrice, Kashmir perceived to be the main dispute. In 1999 Kargil crisis again brought both newly nuclear rivals to brink of war. The then US administration led by President Clinton intervened promptly and timely negotiated to deescalate the overwrought situation when both were at fighting an impromptu war at the peaks of Kargil in Jammu Kashmir. After US led war against terrorism in Afghanistan (2001), the genre of global politics exclusively transformed and it also influenced the South Asia and anywhere else in the world. Due to the changing global political scenario and new fronts of confrontation after the end of cold war, both India and Pakistan advanced their bilateral relations during the Musharraf and Vajpayee’s regimes in their respective countries. Back door diplomacy led them to take some sort of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) including a direct bus service across the Line of Control (LOC) in the disputed State of Jammu Kashmir. South Asian politics of guns and arsenals was replaced by composite dialogues, negotiations, reconciliations, sports and exchanges of cultural, intellectual, academics and musicians. But all this could not last long due to absence of a democratic system in Pakistan and history of mistrust among the rivals. Musharraf regime, which was already fragile and lacking public support, became weaker due to his confrontation with judiciary in Pakistan in the first quarter of 2007. The unfortunate and untimely death of Benazir Bhutto was a blow in the forthcoming regional politics of South Asia. As a result of February 2008 general elections in Pakistan, Musharraf lost the power but successive governments of President Zardari and then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif could not show mature judgments on various key issues regarding the future of South Asia including the resolution of Kashmir conflict. On the other hand victory of Hindu nationalist BJP led by Narindra Modi in 2014 general elections in India altered the corridor of Indian politics and secularism. Even the major party to the conflict could not stand for the “Ownership Building Measures” and trusted the CBMs which was a colossal error on behalf of Kashmiri leadership across the LOC.

Continue reading Towards Understanding South Asia – A Comparative Study of Kashmir Conflict in Regional and Global Perspective

Pakistan helicopter crash kills foreign envoys

An army helicopter has crashed in a mountainous part of northern Pakistan killing six people including the Philippine and Norwegian ambassadors.

It crashed during an emergency landing in the Gilgit-Baltistan territory.

The wives of the Indonesian and Malaysian envoys and two Pakistani pilots also died. They were to attend the opening of a tourism project.

The Pakistani Taliban (TTP) said they were behind the attack, but there is no confirmation of the claim.

Analysis: M Ilyas Khan, BBC News, Islamabad

This is one of the most tragic aviation disasters for the Pakistani military in decades. The last time one of its air crashes killed a foreign diplomat was in 1988 when a C-130, carrying then military ruler Gen Ziaul Haq, US Ambassador Arnold Raphel and several of the army top brass, crashed in southern Pakistan, killing all on board.
The diplomats flying in the ill-fated MI-17 on Friday were headed for a little advertised but extremely exciting inauguration ceremony of a ski chairlift, built in the breathtaking resort of Naltar, in northern Pakistan.
The 180-seat lift was donated by Switzerland and installed by the Pakistan Air Force. Its test run was completed in August, but its formal opening was delayed several times due to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s preoccupations elsewhere.
Today Mr Sharif flew to within 40km of Naltar valley, but just then the news of the crash came and he had to turn back without touching down at the regional airport in Gilgit.

“The helicopter was shot down by an anti-aircraft missile,” a statement emailed by Taliban spokesman Muhammad Khorasani said.

However military spokesman Asim Bajwa said on Twitter that the crash had been caused by a technical fault. The area is not a stronghold of the Taliban.

Read more » BBC
See more » http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-32653359

Baloch-Pashtun-Sindhi Rally in Washington DC

Press release – Wasington DC: A peaceful protest rally is being organized by the Baloch, Sindhi and Pashtun community in North America in front of the White House to draw the attention of the Obama Administration towards the ongoing operations, human right violations, arbitrary arrests, extra-judicial killings, disappearances and genocide in Balochistan, Sindh and Pakhtunkhwa.

In order to defeat the Islamic Extremism and Terrorism in Pakistan, and counter the strategies of countries in the region, the US, instead of sending billions of dollars to Pakistan, should extend a helping hand to the secular Baloch, Sindhi and Pashtun people in their struggle for freedom and justice, who are the best friends of US in the region against the Islamic extremists and terrorists.

We invite all the peace and freedom loving people in the US to come and join us and show their support to the oppressed Baloch, Sindhi, Pashtun people and the people of Gilgit Baltistan in their quest for freedom and justice against the Illegal occupation of their homelands by Pakistan.

WHAT: A Protest Rally to draw the attention of Obama Administration against the ongoing military operation, and human right violations against the Baloch, Sindhi and Pashtun people.

WHEN: Wednesday September 4th, 2013 TIME: 12:00PM to 3:00PM

WHERE: In front of the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, (South West corner of Lafayette Park) Washington, DC. 20500

Organized by: Baloch Society of North America (BSO-NA), Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM), Great Afghanistan Movement (GAM)

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, Sept 02, 2013.

The Nanga Parbat Massacre

Night on Bald Mountain; The Nanga Parbat Massacre

by Omar

PS: contrary to what my friend had heard from Sher Khan (see below), Ali Hussain, the poor cook who got shot alongside our foreign guests in Diamir base camp, really was a Shia. So the Taliban guessed right when they looked at his name and shot him thinking “hey, this looks like a SHIA name”. Details here (in Urdu) http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2013/06/130626_pakistani_porter_murder_sh.shtml

Thousands like him will lose their livelihood now.

Bastards.

btw, as noted below by various commentators, the local Sunni fanatic faction in Kohistan is hostile to climbers and tourists in general. They are not the ones losing their livelihood. In fact, since the finest intel agency in the world trained them in Alpine warfare, THEIR livelihood is more dependent on a different kind of foreigner (the sort willing to pay protection money, employ “non-state actors” or otherwise contribute to the cause, willingly or unwillingly).

btw, contrary to all Paknationalist conspiracy bullcrap, the local police chief claims to know the terrorists and none are foreigners. 

On June 23rd some 15-20 men dressed in the uniforms of the Gilgit Scouts climbed up to the base camp at the foot of the Diamir face of Nanga Parbat. There, at the height of 13000 feet above sea level, they pulled climbers, guides, porters and cooks out of their tents, smashed their phones, laptops and solar panels and put them in two groups. The locals were in one group, the foreigners were lined up on the other side. Then they shot all the foreign climbers in the back of the head. Since exit wounds are bigger than entry wounds and exit wounds were in the face, some of the foreigners are said to be hard to recognize. Looking at ID cards, they also shot a local cook whose name was Ali Hassan. If they had asked him, he might have told them that he was a Sunni, just happened to have a “Shia-sounding” name. But unfortunately the resistance-fighters (thank you Tariq Ali) didnt bother to ask. Another local who told this story to a friend survived because his name is Sher Khan. He is Ismaili. Luckily for him, they just looked at ID cards. He survived because his name doesnt sound Shia.

It takes a day to climb to the base camp. The area is fairly remote. Adventurous tourists and climbers do go there, but its still the kind of place where everyone knows who has just passed by and why. Yet 15-20 killers made the climb, carried out a massacre and disappeared. And have not been seen since.

Its not THAT remote thought. The valleys to the west are the region of Kohistan. Its a Sunni majority region that abuts the significant Shia and Ismaili population of Gilgit-Baltistan. In the 1980s General Zia, perhaps not fully confident of the Jihad bonafides of the Shias, had the Kohistanis massacre some local Shias and started a sectarian feud that is still ongoing.

A year ago there was a massacre of Shia passengers travelling to Gilgit through the nearby town of Chilas.

Note that passengers are being identified by the scars on their back. The people who are carrying out the massacre are NOT masked. The whole affair is happening on the main highway. It went on for a long time. But nobody came to stop them. Nobody has been arrested or punished. There have also been episodes where climbers or tourists have been looted by armed men in the area. So violence is not new to this region. But previously only locals were being killed, now the terrorists have struck a more prominent target.

Continue reading The Nanga Parbat Massacre

India says Gilgit-Baltistan is its integral part

India asks Pakistan to seek NoCs for projects in GB, AJK

ISLAMABAD: India has asked Pakistan to get no objection certificates (NoCs) from New Delhi for building all the hydropower projects being completed in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and AJK involving funding of international donor agencies.

India has also asked Pakistan to provide detailed information about all hydropower projects being built in Gilgit-Baltistan with the funding of these international donors.

This has been communicated to Pakistan in the latest correspondence in which India has again declared Gilgit-Baltistan as its integral part. ….

– See more at: http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-21335-India-asks-Pakistan-to-seek-NoCs-for-projects-in-GB-AJK#sthash.1xRHYAzS.dpuf

Read more » The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-21335-India-asks-Pakistan-to-seek-NoCs-for-projects-in-GB-AJK

Dinaar-Dirham conference in Lahore, Pakistan – Shariah currency (aka gold dinaars)

Shaykh Umar Vadillo’s Speech In The Islamic Economic System Conference In Lahore.

Destined for victory

By: Syed Hafiz

Despite the sweltering heat and an asthmatic aircon in the hall, at 1600 hours, drenched in sweat, the people were waiting for a person that the american congress deemed to be more dangerous than usama bin laden. Lahore’s Aiwan e Iqbal hall had never been so packed.

From Gilgit in the extreme north to Rahim yar khan in the middle, from Quetta in the west to Karachi in the southern coast ; people had gathered from all over the country to participate in this Dinar / Dirham conference. They all had the same thing to say : if its Allah and Prophet’s (pbuh) war against interest, then we are with Allah and Prophet.

Even in this stifling heat and sweat, the people’s patience was commendable. They were waiting for a person from that city, from where Muslims were expelled by the Chrisitan community.

They city that was the cultural center in Europe, and from where the sunshine of civilization illuminated the whole world – Qartaba  (Cordova, southern Spain) . The hall’s name is Aiwan e Iqbal, the great sufi poet Iqbal, and the speaker was standing in front of the picture of Iqbal on the wall. that Iqbal who imprisoned himself in the mosque of Cordoba, just to pray 2 rak’aat prayers.

Omar Ibrahim Vadilo who belonged to a strict Christian family, and who was trained to be a priest. He became the first European Muslim of the city of Cordoba. When he became a Muslim, there was no mosque in Cordoba, but now there are 4 mosques there.

He is the front man of the army of Allah, who has begun the mission to eradicate paper notes : the foundation of ‘interest’ from the world, and bring back the silver Dinar and Gold Coins system from the days of the Prophet(pbuh).

The weight and size of the coins have been kept the same as that standardized by Hazrat Umar (ra) . This enthusiastic crowd was eagerly listening to Omar Vadilo.

After starting with the name of Allah he said :

This secret is known to all the Western world that Capitalism has failed, it only remains to be officially announced. A majority in the US and Europe considers paper notes, Dollar and Pound to be a fraud.

Continue reading Dinaar-Dirham conference in Lahore, Pakistan – Shariah currency (aka gold dinaars)

PPP power show at Kamu Shaheed near Sindh-Punjab border

Congratulation to Sindh Chief Minister on PPP Rally.

12 May 2012: Delaware(USA), Millions of Pakistanis (estimated to be two millions) belonging to Sindh, Sarikistan, Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit Baltistan and other areas of Pakistan gathered in Ghotki, Sindh, to express their support for democracy, in particular for the Pakistan Peoples Party and its leaders President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani.

Today’s public rally at Kamon Shaheed area on the Sindh-Punjab border is estimated to be one of the largest in Pakistan’s political history. The total number of people in today’s rally is estimated to be several times larger than other similar rallies organized by other political parties .

The leaders PPP USA, Shafqat Tanweer President, Mian Basharat Yousaf Chief Organizer, Shoukat Ali Bhutta Secretary General, Syed Iftikhar Zaidi Senior Vice President, Zafar Iqbal Chattha, Co ordinator Jahingeer Buttar Finance Secretary and Masood Zakria Choudhary Add’l Secretary General,PPP USA. Congratulate Chief Minister of Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah and PPP Leadership for this rally.

Jeay Bhutto, Jeay BiBi, PPP Zindabad.

Pakistan – Jihadis all over

By Mujahid Hussain

After a lull, the al-Qaeda and the Taliban terrorists have re-launched attacks in Pakistan. These attacks falsify the myth that al-Qaeda and the Taliban sympathizers had been combed out in the wake of the security forces’ successful operation in the Tribal Areas.

As a matter of fact, the Taliban terrorists have pushed the security forces and the local Peace Lashkars out of the area. Now the Taliban are attacking the urban areas and the adjoining settlements at will. The recent example of the Taliban penetration is the release of hundreds of dangerous criminals from the prison of Bannu, situated on the periphery of the Tribal Belt.

Continue reading Pakistan – Jihadis all over

Pakistan is in denial over spreading sectarian violence

After decades of turning a blind eye, the government seems helpless in the face of attacks on Shias and other minorities

By: Mustafa Qadri

While banned political groups preach hatred towards religious minorities in Pakistan’s major cities, a conflict along sectarian lines is spreading across the country, even to areas not previously associated with violence. Having spent decades turning a blind eye to the calculated violence of groups with a clear agenda based on hatred and intolerance, Pakistan’s government appears helpless in the face of continuous attacks on Shia Muslims and other minorities.

Sectarian attacks are not new in Pakistan, but there has been an upsurge, especially in Balochistan since at least 2010, in the Khurram and Orakzai tribal agencies bordering Afghanistan, the port city of Karachi and across the Punjab. Now the frosty, picturesque mountain ranges of Gilgit-Baltistan, on the northern border with China, are seeing an increasingly violent sectarian conflict pitting Muslim Sunnis against Shias.

Continue reading Pakistan is in denial over spreading sectarian violence

Why India can’t give up Siachen

By: Vikram Sood

The nation cannot afford to repeat the strategic mistakes of the past — like halting our advance at Uri in 1948 or not capturing Skardu; or giving up Haji Pir in 1966; or returning 93,000 troops and territory in 1972

The strategic advantage accruing to India in Siachen should not be given up for apparent short-term political gains. Giving up Siachen as a gesture of friendship would also mean that its recapture would be extremely expensive to India in men and material, says Vikram Sood.

Continue reading Why India can’t give up Siachen

Curfew continues in Gilgit Kidnappers free 34 hostages

By Farooq Ahmed Khan

GILGIT, April 10: Thirty-four people kidnapped from Hunza on April 3 in the wake of violence and bloodshed in Gilgit and Chilas were released on Tuesday as a result of successful talks between kidnappers and cleric Aga Rahat ul Hussain, police said.

Member of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly Deedar Ali Shah said the 34 hostages had been released unconditionally.

The kidnapped men — the district health officer, a civil judge, truck drivers, cleaners and labourers working in flour mills — had been taken to Nagar valley.

On Tuesday, they were brought to Gilgit where they were received by the deputy speaker of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly, home secretary, finance secretary and the DIG. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

Digging our own graves – By Kamran Shafi

As we Pakistanis heap more ridicule on the American action to place a bounty on Hafiz Saeed’s head, derisively pointing out to the world how he is living openly in known residences; attending rallies in the open; addressing announced press conferences, and how he is thumbing his nose at his adversaries, we lose sight of the fact that (most of) the world is not on the same page as us.

No matter what defence we trot out: there is no evidence that he is a terrorist, the Lahore High Court having given him a clean chit; he heads a charity, the Jamaatud Dawa (JuD), and not a militant group, the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT); that he has even asked the United Nations to strike the JuD off the terrorist organisations list, and so and so forth, we lose complete sight of the fact that the United States is a power that can exert its influence anywhere in the world.

Continue reading Digging our own graves – By Kamran Shafi

A country for bigotry

Land of bigots

By Tazeen Javed

It has been a year since Shahbaz Bhatti passed away. No, strike that, he did not pass away; his life was brutally cut short when he was murdered. Everyone from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to the Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan have been suspected with his murder, either by the police officials, or by the home ministry, yet no decent progress has been made.

In a way, it all makes sense, since only certain kinds of angry groups of men, who bay for blood and destruction, seem to carry any weight around here. Bhatti was NOT that kind of a man. He believed in fighting for rights the democratic way and had planned to introduce legislation that would ban hate speech and hate literature against all. He was campaigning for official holidays for minorities’ religious festivals and wanted the blasphemy law to be repealed which turned out to be a crime worthy of death.

Bhatti’s death is not a lone incidence of brutal violence. Planned acts of aggression and cruelty against minorities — whether ethnic, religious, sectarian or communal — is becoming a norm in the ‘Land of the Pure’. Intolerance has reached such levels that people with names that revealed their sectarian or religious beliefs are afraid to use them when they feel unsafe. Slain journalist, Mukarram Khan Atif narrated one such incident, which depicted the extent of narrow-mindedness and fanaticism in the country. He and another reporter were travelling south from Mohmand Agency through Khyber Agency and one of them had to use a name that would make him pass off as a member of the majority sect.

The minority communities — no matter who they are and where they are living — are constantly under threat. We have cases of forced conversions of Hindu girls, mostly minors in Sindh who are forcefully abducted and married to Muslim men and then presented to the court as religious converts. According to a treasury member of the Sindh Assembly, around 20 to 25 forced conversions take place every month in the province.

Acts of mob violence against Ahmadis seem to be rising at an alarming rate. The situation is such that any Ahmadi family is at risk of being threatened with the blasphemy law. Their places of worship are gunned and/or ransacked and the law-enforcement community and the state does nothing and silently looks on.

The perpetrators of the Gojra incident, where a whole Christian colony was burnt down, still roam free and the Hazaras in Balochistan are regularly targeted for their sectarian and ethnic identity. Also, nothing is done to check the dissemination of hate literature, some of which can be found even in mainstream bookstores. Last week’s tragic shooting of passengers travelling on a bus to Gilgit on the Karakoram Highway, where people were asked to show their CNICs and then taken off and killed — all of them were Shia — shows that we have reached an even higher level of prejudice and bigotry.

It would not be wrong to say that intolerance rules our society and no one is safe here in this country other than the men who perpetuate bias, bigotry and hatred?

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, March 3rd, 2012.

Ayesha Siddiqa : The Mullah Military Nexus is the mother of all evil – BBC urdu

Ayesha Siddiqua on the connection between Shia killings and the deep state. Here she speaks it all ! [ ہر حادثے پر گماں ہوتا ہے کہ شاید اب ہوش آ جائے انٹرویو ڈاکٹر عائشہ صدیقہ ]  The Mullah Military Nexus is the mother of all evil. [ شاید اب ہوش آجائے‘ ‏ فرقہ وارانہ واقعات پر بی بی سی اردو میں دفاعی امور کی ماہر ڈاکٹر عائشہ صدیقہ سے بات کی]The language of the interview is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: BBC urdu

http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2012/02/120228_interview_aiyshah_fz.shtml

Shia genocide in Pakistan

Shia massacre in Gilgit: Media apathy and misrepresentation of Shia genocide in Pakistan

Today’s massacre of at least 20 Shia Muslims in Gilgit brings the tally of murdered and injured Shias close to 250 since the beginning of 2012 and aside from two dedicated articles, both in the Daily Times, and both by two honourable Pashtuns, Pakistan’s “progressive”, “liberal” and “secular” media remains defeaningly silent on this topic. While Pakistan’s social media networks have been abuzz with Oscar awards, cricket matches, Maya Khan and Veena Malik, aside from the token tweet and sentence, Pakistan’s liberal media continues to ignore the ongoing Shia Genocide in Pakistan.

The PPP-led government remains both clueless and helpless to stop this ongoing genocide – while some of its elected representatives have spoken out against this but the world knows that it is not the elected Government in Pakistan that has enabled Shia Genocide – it is the military establishment. The ISI’s partnership with the nexus of interconnected extremist … groups (TTP, Jundullah, SSP-ASWJ-LeJ, JM, LeT) responsible for this has been formalized via Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC). Furthermore, alternate political groups like Imran Khan’s PTI are also complicit as evidenced by their open support for DPC. ….

Read more » LUBP

Elections in Pakistani colony – Azad Kashmir

by Dr Shabir Choudhry

28 June 2011 – In a parliamentary form of government a party that gets majority forms the next government; and the party leader becomes a Prime Minister. This happens in every democratic and civilised country. However, rules in a Pakistani occupied territory known as Azad Kashmir (independent Kashmir) are different.

PPP emerged as the winner in the elections. It was expected, as always is the case, a ruling party in Islamabad gets the desired results in Azad Kashmir to suits its needs. Barrister Sultan Mehmood, former Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir and a leader of the PPP was interviewed by a Pakistani TV. He happily claimed to have got the majority to form the government. The TV journalist asked him who is going to be the Prime Minister. Barrister Sultan Mehmood with a fake smile on his face said: Zardari Sahib will decide who is going to be the Prime Minister’ (of Azad Kashmir). ….

Read more: → Dr. Shabir Choudhry

The Chinese Cozy Up to the Pakistanis

by Selig S. Harrison

China’s expanding reach is a natural and acceptable accompaniment of its growing power—but only up to a point.

Beijing is understandably challenging a century of U.S. dominance in the Pacific and the South China Sea immediately adjacent to its shores. But the aggressive effort to block Indian hegemony in South Asia, reflected in its growing ties with Pakistan and its territorial claim to the adjacent northeast state of Arunachal Pradesh (for which there is no historical basis) is more ominous.

In contrast to its studied neutrality on the Kashmir issue in past decades, Beijing is now openly supportive of Pakistan and is establishing its economic and political influence both in Pakistan-occupied Azad (Free) Kashmir and in the Himalayan state of Gilgit-Baltistan. …

Read more : The National Interest

SOUTH ASIAN PERSPECTIVE ON REGIONAL STABILITY

Toronto, Canada : International Center for Peace and Democracy (ICPD) is a Toronto based think tank advocating secular democracy and peace in South Asia . Executive Director of ICPD, Muhammad Mumtaz Khan, who comes from Pakistan, administered Kashmir (PAK), has a thirty-year experience in the field of rights’ advocacy. Currently, he also represents International Kashmir Alliance (IKA) and All Parties National Alliance (APNA) in the European Parliament, North America and the United Nations.

Continue reading SOUTH ASIAN PERSPECTIVE ON REGIONAL STABILITY

Plight of Kashmiri militants in ‘Azad Kashmir’

– by Dr Shabir Choudhry

Story of Kashmiri struggle is a long and tragic story of suffering of human beings on both sides of the forcibly divided State of Jammu and Kashmir. During our study tour of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan, I met a ‘leader’ of Kashmiri militants who still live in Azad Kashmir. Before giving details of their plight it is imperative to give short summary to the on going armed struggle.

They were young, energetic and full of life; but they were frustrated and not satisfied with what life had to offer them. They wanted change; and they were led to believe that the change could only come from a barrel of gun, which did not grow on Kashmiri trees. The gun and training needed to bring about the desired change could only be gained from Azad Kashmir and Pakistan, so they crossed the Line of Control to get guns, training and ammunition that they could fight the Indian forces stationed in Kashmir.

Between 1989 and 1991 tens of thousands of Kashmiri youths crossed over the Line of Control and went to a land of their dreams – Pakistan, which many of them thought was a place where there was justice, peace and tranquillity. Pakistan, for many of them, was just like a second Makkah, a country established in name of Islam and where, according to them, all was well.

Many of them thought their Kashmiri brothers living under control of Pakistan were living in heaven; and enjoyed life much better than them. Their dreams were shattered when they crossed over. Many of them lost their lives while walking to land of their dreams. Those who made it across the LOC reached there exhausted and in some cases needed urgent medical help.

On arrival they were not greeted with flowers. They all had to go through rigorous security checks, interrogation and, at times, humiliation. Many soon got frustrated and went back empty handed. On way back, they either got killed or adapted to new life style in presence of gun culture, oppression, large army, fear and intimidation.

Continue reading Plight of Kashmiri militants in ‘Azad Kashmir’

China’s Discreet Hold on Pakistan’s Northern Borderlands

By SELIG S. HARRISON

While the world focuses on the flood-ravaged Indus River valley, a quiet geopolitical crisis is unfolding in the Himalayan borderlands of northern Pakistan, where Islamabad is handing over de facto control of the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region in the northwest corner of disputed Kashmir to China.

The entire Pakistan-occupied western portion of Kashmir stretching from Gilgit in the north to Azad (Free) Kashmir in the south is closed to the world, in contrast to the media access that India permits in the eastern part, where it is combating a Pakistan-backed insurgency. But reports from a variety of foreign intelligence sources, Pakistani journalists and Pakistani human rights workers reveal two important new developments in Gilgit-Baltistan: a simmering rebellion against Pakistani rule and the influx of an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army.

China wants a grip on the region to assure unfettered road and rail access to the Gulf through Pakistan. It takes 16 to 25 days for Chinese oil tankers to reach the Gulf. When high-speed rail and road links through Gilgit and Baltistan are completed, China will be able to transport cargo from Eastern China to the new Chinese-built Pakistani naval bases at Gwadar, Pasni and Ormara, just east of the Gulf, within 48 hours.

Many of the P.L.A. soldiers entering Gilgit-Baltistan are expected to work on the railroad. Some are extending the Karakoram Highway, built to link China’s Sinkiang Province with Pakistan. Others are working on dams, expressways and other projects.

Read more >> The New York Times

Pakistan – Curfew in Gilgit

Protester killed in Gilgit clash

One person has been killed and several injured in clashes between protesters and security forces on the outskirts of the northern Pakistani city of Gilgit.

An indefinite curfew in the city and in other parts of the country’s northern areas remains in force.

There was widespread violence in the town of Hunza when the authorities tried to stop Shia from demonstrating. …

Read more >> BBC News

Gilgit Baltistan Democratic Alliance (GBDA) Leaders Detained before Election in Gilgit

GBDA Leaders Detained before Election in Gilgit

Brussels : 31st Oct. 2009 – Detention of hundred GBDA Leaders and workers exposed fraud Elections of Pakistan. The so-called election after announcement of a fraud package has been exposed. Top leaders of Gilgit Baltistan Democratic Alliance (GBDA) have been detained by regime in Gilgit today. Wajahat Hassan Khan Chairman APNA and Engineer Amanullah Khan Chairman GBDA along with all the 3 candidates of Gilgit constituency have been arrested by Police on the direction of Pakistan security forces today on 31st. Oct. at the occasion when they announced public gathering tomorrow on 1st. Nov against the illegal occupation.

The Gilgit Police have arrested Engeer Amanullah Khan Chairman GBDA, Burhanullah General Secretary, Shahid Hussain GBDA candidate for LA 1 Gilgit 1 constituency, Adv. Mohammad Farooq. GBDA candidate for LA2 Gilgit 2 Constituency, Afsar Jan GBDA candidate for LA 3 Gilgit 3 constituency, Adv. Ehsan Ali former President of Gilgit Baltistan Bar Council, Wajahat Hassan Khan Ex Member of Gilgit Baltistan Council and Col. (Retired) Nadir Hassan, Mohammad Javed former member of District Council and Akbar. Dozens of Balawaristan National Students Organization (BNSO) and Karakorum Students Organization (KSO) members havealso been detained by Gilgit Police when they start to organize public gathering.

This is the only indigenous nationalist Political Alliance (mainly consists BNF and KNM) of this disputed region which is under Pakistan occupation, has been barred in taking part in election process, by giving all the facilities with huge funds to the Pakistani parties, who are taking part in the coming elections on 12 Nov. 2009. Though according to UNCIP Pakistan has to withdraw its forces and civilians, but in practice forces and its intelligence agencies have been suppressing the whole indigenous population of Gilgit, Baltistan. The 2 million indigenous people are not allowed to raise their voices by political process and they don’t have access to Justice, Education and economical progress instead of huge natural resources. The regime does not allow GBDA to hold election rallies and public gatherings, which is the clear indication of unfair and partial elections in the coming days, where GBDA is contesting Elections instead of not endorsing elections under occupation.

We condemn of this act of occupying regime and we are going to tell the international community that government and its behind hidden and actual government (Security Forces) has decided to elect all the Pakistani backed candidates including PPP ; PML, JUI, JI and MQM. The MQM has been sent to this disputed region by primer spy agency first time with huge funds and other facilities, while the government is backing PPP. In such situation we don’t have trust in the elections.

Abdul Hamid Khan

Chairman, Balawaristan National Front (BNF)

November 02, 2009