“Annul all illegal mining leases issued in disputed Gilgit – Baltistan”, Nationalists demand in Hunza Valley

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HUNZA, July 21: The people of Gilgit-Baltistan need to be united in order to fight for the basic human and constitutional rights of the depressed and marginalised communities of the region. This was said by the leaders of nationalist parties and civil society organisation during a public consultation gathering in Aliabad, Hunza. The gathering was organised by Karakoram National Movement (KNM), Progressive Youth Front (PYF) and Balor Forum with the support of Gilgit Baltistan Democratic Alliance (GBDA).
Hundreds of people from Hunza and Nagar participated the gathering.

The speakers said that the people of the region have fought for their independence and unconditionally acceded with Pakistan but after 60 years the local people are still suffering from identity crisis. The speakers have demanded that the Government of Pakistan shall immediately define the constitutional status of Gilgit-Baltistan and the region should be given self-rule. They also demanded to declare Gilgit-Baltistan as least-developed region and funds should be provided on preferential basis.

The speakers also demanded opening of the  Skardu-Kargil, Astore-Sri Nagar, Ghizer/Hunza-Tajikistan Roads in order to re-establish the social, cultural and economic ties between the communities living around the borders.

The speakers strongly condemned the recent terrorist activities in Gilgit city and stressed on the people to understand the international conspiracies being hatched to destroy peace in Gilgit-Baltistan to fulfil their own hidden agendas.

The speakers have highlighted different issues faced by the people of the region due to negligence of the Northern Areas administration  and Government of Pakistan. They said that more than 50 mining leases have been awarded to influential non-local entrepreneurs while violating the United Nations universal declarations recognizing and strengthening the role of indigenous people and their communities. They demanded cancelation of all the leases given in Gilgit-Baltistan and acceptance of the right of ownership of local communities for all future leases.

The speakers also demanded that the unemployed youth of the region should be facilitated to establish different potential industries in the region. The speakers have demanded to award the compensation of KKH affectees according to international standard. They have said that the region besides having great potential of hydro power generation facing severe electricity problem. They demanded to construct power station on Hunza River by constructing small dams.

The speakers bitterly criticised the role of Chief Executive Northern Areas and his family members for creating problems for the legally elected cabinet of Sost Dry Port. The speakers have demanded for an independent  investigation on the large scale irregularities in Sost Dry Port.

The speakers also highlighted large scale irregularities in Khizerabad – Sikandarabad RCC Bridge and Water Supply Scheme for Central Hunza.

Ghulam Shahzad Agha, Chairman GBDA, Amanullah, Senior Vice President, GBDA, Mumtaz Nagri, Vice President, GBDA, Muhammad Iqbal Advocate, Chairman KNM, Advocate Ahsan, Ali, Chairman Labor Party Baloristan, Manzoor  Parwana, Chairman, GBUM, Arif Shahid, General Secretary APNA and Professor Mark Khalid, Spokesman APNA. Among the other sepakers were Ikramullah Baig, Hoor Shah, Senior Vice Chairman, Sost Dry Port Trust, Burhan, Director, Sost Dry Port Trust, Haji Rehmat Ali, Representative KKH affectees Nagar, Jan Alam, Representative KKH affectees Hunza and Baba Jan, Chief Organiser Progressive Youth Front.

After a very long period of time political leadership from across Gilgit – Baltistan had come to the Hunza Valley, as part of ongoing efforts to develop public consensus over a variety of common issues faced by the region. Earlier GBDA has organized similar events in Gilgit city, Skardu city and Gahkuch, capital of Ghizar district. The event was peaceful but public attendance in the gathering wasn’t up to the expectations of the organizers.

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Pamir Times is the pioneering community news and views portal of Gilgit – Baltistan, Kohistan, Chitral and the surrounding mountain areas. It is a voluntary, not-for-profit, non-partisan and independent venture initiated by the youth.