N N Khan Khattak
The Northern Areas of Pakistan generally known as “mountain desert” have been strategically located at the crossroads of North-South and East-West corridors enabling a trade access to China and Central Asian Republics. The culturally diversified society residing in this mountainous desert has been living together peacefully since centuries. It was hoped that Pakistan-India dialogue process (CBMs) started in January 2004 would help improve the ground situation in India Occupied Kashmir (IOK).
But to the dismay of all, the situation remains as it was. In order to sidetrack the attention away from Kashmir, India has opened many fronts: (a) Commissioning acts of terrorism in Balochistan through Indian consulates based in Kandahar and Heart. (b) Active involvement of RAW agents in the on-going Taliban movement in FATA. (c) Creating a wedge between the nationalists’ parties of Northern Areas and Centre’s Administrative apparatus. The last onslaught is being planned by nurturing and inciting separatists’ forces to demand for the creation of independent state of Balawaristan. Out of nine nationalist parties which carry nationalist standpoint, Balawaristan National Front (Abdul Hameed Group) and Balawaristan National Front (Naji Group) have been very ferocious in spewing venomous propaganda aimed to disintegrate Pakistan. Working on anti Pakistan premise, the main grievances of these parties are (a) Non-recognition of Gilgit-Baltistan of 1 Nov 1947. (b) Chitral and Kohistan are inseparable parts of Bolar (Gilgit-Baltistan) since time immemorial and thus connected with Kashmir dispute. (c) Pakistan is changing demographic character of the area from a sizeable Shia population to re-settling Sunni ex-servicemen in the area. (d) Non-acceptance of All Parties National Alliance (APNA) aimed to unite nationalist elements of Azad Kashmir and NAs for a future state of Bolar, Jammu and Kashmir (BJK). (e) Empowerment of public representative of NAs in main political set-up of Pakistan. (f) Socio-economic development of the area.
In its historical perspective, after Indo-Pak partition of 1947, the Muslims dominated areas in North revolted and liberated their land from Hindu Dogra rule, as some of its parts were under loose administrative control of Hindu Maharaja of Kashmir. The various neighborhoods in this region like, Gilgit, Skardu, Ghizer, Diamar, Gangchi and Astore were brought under Federally Administered Northern Areas of Pakistan (FANAs). India has been trying since long to create unrest in this area by fueling sectarianism and exploiting the sentiments of so called nationalist elements. The area witnessed worst sectarian clashes in 1988, which took almost a decade to stabilize. Due to strategic location and proximity to Central Asian Republics, Indians are flexing their muscles by sponsoring BNF, led by Abdul Hameed Khan and other nationalist groups/elements. Balawristan National Front (BNF) was formed in 1992 with the help of RAW to promote the agenda of a sovereign and independent Republic of Balwaristan from Kohistan to Chitral and Khunjrab to SkarduILadakh. In 1996 due to some differences between Abdul Hameed and Nazir Khan Naji, BNF divided into Hameed and Naji Groups.
Abdul Hameed group BNF(H) started its activities more aggressively. Fearing his apprehension, Abdul Hameed Khan escaped to Brussels under the patronage of RAW to aggressively project the cause of an independent state on international forums. Under the banner of APNA, RAW has been able to make an alliance between pro-independent Azad Kashmiri leaders and nationalist elements of Northern Area. Abdul Hameed Khan along with another RAW sponsored nationalist leader of AJK, sought the sympathies of Ms Emma Nicholson, (member of European Parliament and vice chairperson of the Committee of Foreign Affairs of the European Union) by highlighted the so-called human rights violations in NAs.
The anti Pakistan theme was further reinforced by members of BNF and Karakurum National Movement (KNM) to Ms Emma Nicholson during her visit to NAs in February 2008. RAW through its front organizations has been inviting various delegations from NAs and Azad Kashmir to IOK for furtherance of its negative designs. BNF mobilized students’ community for their cause and created Balawaristan National Students Organization (BNSO) on 29 July 2008 at Karakuram University Gilgit.
Since 1948, the Government in India has had a lucidly thought over and openly articulated strategy to gain control of the disputed territory. In fact, the policy-making circles of the Government of India has been extending all sort of political, moral and diplomatic support to the dissenting movements which advocate the formation of independent statehood for Balawaristan, greater Balochistan and Pakhtoonistan. Indian think tank “Strategic Foresight Group”, has established an exhaustive section on ‘Pakistan Studies’ which aims to present a negative picture of Pakistan with a view to disintegrate Pakistan.
Courtesy: Pakistan Observer, September 10, 2008