GENEVA, June 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — A conference on “Ground Reality in Gilgit-Baltistan” was held in the United Nations Geneva Room No. XXVII during the 14th Human Rights Council to address the issues and concerns of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, which is a region of Jammu & Kashmir under Pakistani occupation. At the end of the conference, MEP Ryszard Czarnecki and Senge Hasnan Sering of Gilgit-Baltistan National Congress called the press to issue a joint statement.
The MEP informed the audience about the partnership which has developed between the advocacy groups of Gilgit-Baltistan and the representatives of the EUP. He said that the partnership has helped promote the cause of self determination of Gilgit-Baltistan and highlighted the plight of the people. MEP expressed his concern that Gilgit-Baltistan is situated in a politically sensitive region and surrounded by three nuclear powers namely India, Pakistan and China. Moreover, if the genuine demands of the natives of this region are not respected then it can cause further instability. He said, ”India and Pakistan must work together on the issue of Gilgit-Baltistan and constitute a working group involving the representatives of the governments of both countries as well as those from the civil society of Gilgit-Baltistan.” MEP also expressed his concern for Pakistan’s unilateral decision to use the land and resources of Gilgit-Baltistan to construct mega dams, which inundates local dwellings, farmland, pastures and also impacts the wildlife habitats.
MEP expressed his disappointment with the government of Pakistan, after being refused the permission to visit Gilgit-Baltistan, which could have allowed him to learn about the ground realities. He showed his desire to meet the members of the civil society and human rights defenders of Gilgit-Baltistan after receiving the opportunity to travel to Gilgit-Baltistan. MEP said, ”The issue of Gilgit-Baltistan will be raised in the European Union Parliament, and the members will be informed about Pakistan’s apathy towards the rights and concerns of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.”
Mr. Senge Hasnan Sering, who is in Geneva to attend the fourteenth UNHRC Session, also spoke on the occasion to the media and members of advocacy groups, HR defenders and political action committees. He said, ”Pakistan’s presence in Gilgit-Baltistan is illegal and the unilateral decision to impose herself on the land and people of Gilgit-Baltistan is a clear violation of the resolutions of the UNCIP on Jammu & Kashmir. If Pakistan continues to occupy the region, the unstable political conditions may ensue in a nuclear war between India and Pakistan. It is in the best interest of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan as well as the international community to persuade Pakistan to withdraw its forces and civil administration from the region.”
Senge Sering objected to the fact that Pakistani citizens continue to arrive in Gilgit-Baltistan and acquire assets, mining leases and claim citizenship to the area. The situation is leading to change in local religious, ethnic and cultural demography and enabling the Pakistani citizens to claim their stake in region’s political matters. Senge Sering said that his party Gilgit-Baltistan National Congress will also raise this issue with the members of the American Congress. He also expressed his concern over the plight of the people of Hunza and Gojal, who have suffered due to the landslides, glacial outbursts and inundation of their villages in the last few months. He condemned Pakistani government for not reaching out to the local people to solve their issues. He said, ‘Pakistan is only interested in exploiting the natural resources, which lawfully belong to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. The locals are denied the right to own and earn income from the use of natural resources since Islamabad makes decisions on their behalf.’ In the end, both MEP and Senge Sering appealed to the representatives of the advocacy groups to support the cause of Gilgit-Baltistan and help others learn about this region.
SOURCE The Office of Ryszard Czarnecki – a Member of the European Parliament.