|Mr. Abdul Hamid Khan
Balawaristan National Front
Avenue Augherghem 57
Tel: +32 (0)223 11750
Mr. Jerzy Buzek MEP
President of the European Parliament
Rue Wietz 60
Re: Gilgit Baltistan Package Protects Pakistan and China’s Interest
I have the honour to write to you regarding Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan (Empowerment and Self Governance) Order 2009 that was announced on 29th August 2009.
The so-called package of self-governance and internal autonomy has been finalized by a senior committee under the chairmanship of Mr. Qamar Zaman Kaira, a Pakistani national who cannot claim in any way to represent Gilgit Baltistan.
Minister of KANA Islamabad. Gilani said that major political parties including the President of Pakistan Occupied Kashmiri (PoK) were taken on board, but not a single person from Gilgit Baltistan was taken into confidence before and even after the package was devised. The so-called Northern Areas Legislative Assembly (NALA) as Pakistani term it, was not taken in to confidence. Even the so-called powerless local Chief Executive of NALA Meer Ghazanfar was not aware of this package before the announcement.
Despite its high claims of granting self-governance or internal autonomy, Martial Law in the form of a governor-administrator has been introduced and the head of the Package Committee has declared himself governor. This is an indication that the two million people of Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan) have been betrayed for the fifth time by the so-called package crisis that has been unfolding since 1971.
All the powers have come to rest with individuals who have no interest in the wellbeing of Gilgit Baltistan: the Pakistani President, Prime Minister (Chairman of the Council) and Minister of KANA (Governor and Vice Chairman of the Council) who have now declared themselves as “Approving Authority, Chairman and governor” respectively.
The governor and chairman of the Council are the supreme authority in this package. The Gilgit Baltistan Council would be chaired by the prime minister of Pakistan, who has not been elected by votes of the people of Gilgit Baltistan, while an un-elected governor, to be appointed by the president of Pakistan, would act as vice-chairman of the council.
This arrangement is seen as an concerted attempt to control the elected representatives of Gilgit Baltistan and to use the new political setup as rubber stamp to get approval for the construction of 6 Mega Dams including Diamar/Bhasha Dam, Bonji Dam and to merge Gilgit Baltistan in to Pakistan by ignoring the will of the two million people as well as the United Nations Commission on India and Pakistan (UNCIP) resolutions. It is for the very first time, in the history of Pakistan, that a serving federal minister has been appointed governor of a disputed region that is beyond the constitution of Pakistan.
A new designation given to the local puppet Chief Executive as Chief Minister, but the Chief Minister would not be authorized to form his cabinet. The governor would form a cabinet, albeit with “advice” but which is not legally binding, from the chief minister. The elected legislative assembly would not be able to elect the chief minister. The newly introduced Gilgit Baltistan Council, like in Pakistan occupied Kashmir will be selected which has the power to select Ministers and make some nominal laws.
This power mechanism is a clear indication of Pakistan’s plans to exploit the resources of this region of Jammu & Kashmir dispute. The Balawaristan National Front (BNF) strongly believe that in the presence of huge numbers of the Pakistani army and its intelligence agencies, the definition of autonomy or self-rule is an cynical move to assuage the world community whilst gaining time to strengthen its occupation with the full fledged help of the People’s Republic of China.
The Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly and Council are not authorized to discuss security and internal matters besides foreign and defence matters, because this is a war zone for launching terrorist activities of Pakistani forces across the borders. The real power is given to Gilgit Baltistan Council which is not be elected but selected like the authorities of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.
Some pro-Pakistan political leaders will be elected in this Council and many others will be given personal benefits such as bribes or the prospect of huge returns on unfettered exploitation of natural resources. The elected people have no legal and constitutional protection such as has been given to Pakistan occupied Kashmir by its interim constitution of 1974.
The increase in the number of judges of the Supreme Appellate Court from three to five without providing a High Court and Supreme Court is meaningless. The two million indigenous people will now be more deprived than ever after the implementation of this package. The people are still deprived of fundamental rights and the right to appeal in court against human rights violations. Any person can be kidnapped and killed by the Pakistan armed forces, intelligent agencies and even by kangaroo courts without giving them the right to appeal in High Court and Supreme Courts. Nevertheless, this so-called package will be of no real significance in the presence of Pakistani forces without giving the right to self-determination or even the provision of local authority, which had been promised by UNCIP on 13th Aug ust 1948 but for which we are still waiting.
The main objection of this non-democratic package is that all the stakeholders in Pakistan have been consulted but nobody from Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan) has been taken into confidence. What is the justification of these self-claimed Pakistani stakeholders: where these illegal or unconstitutional authorities impose their own branded laws against the wishes of the people of such an area which is not part of Pakistan according to its own constitution, Court verdicts, and resolutions of the UNCIP?
To settle these boundary disputes between Balawaristan and Pakistan, the Pakistani Prime Minister has announced the establishment of a Boundary Commission during his package announcement. According to the source, a Pakistani Judge from NWFP and another Islamabad-backed Judge from Gilgit Baltistan have been deputed to decide the boundary dispute in favour of Pakistan.
It is a world recognized understanding that judges should always be impartial. How a party of a dispute can deliver a judgment against its own interest. Pakistani national whether a serving or retired Judge or any person or a Pakistani employee from Gilgit Baltistan who gets salary or other benefit or interest from Pakistan cannot be trusted as impartial.
Besides this China has constructed sixteen airstrips along the Karakorum Highway, which has also been used extensively for the supply of missiles and nuclear parts from China to Pakistan. Pakistan is now working to build 6 Mega Dams on this disputed land with the help of China without consulting the local indigenous people and even without the knowledge of the United Nations. The fate of this disputed land has not been decided yet with the rest of the Jammu & Kashmir according to the UNCIP resolutions.
The presence of more than 5,000 Chinese well equipped forces as disguised labours and engineers will jeopardize the peace of the whole South Asia but the world in near future.
The engineer of the so-called Package is GHQ (Pakistan Army Headquarters Rawalpindi) not the so-called democratic government of Pakistan. In our opinion the following are the reasons behind this new Pakistani move:
1. To safeguard Pakistan and Chinese economic and military interests, Pakistan wants to merge this disputed and most strategically important part of Jammu & Kashmir with its North Western Frontier Province in the near future with the help of the so-called Assembly and Council by using them as rubber stamp.
2. To show the International Community and particularly European Union and USA and donor agencies including World Bank, IMF and Asian Development Bank, that Pakistan wants to readdress its illegal occupation by making fake announcements of self-rule and autonomy.
3. The so-called Package holds its iron grip on the neck of Balawaristan’s two million people and particularly the nationalist parties if and when it is implemented. Pakistani forces will be acting more freely and ferociously than before because the clause of this package. Because the victims – the region’s indigenous people - have no right to access to Justice in the absence of High Court and Supreme Court and their own governance.
We, the people of Balawaristan, reject this new Pakistani package, because it will create more deprivation, lack of Justice and limit our freedoms more than ever.
We appeal to the European Union and USA to persuade China not to involve itself in the occupation process of Balawaristan (Pakistan occupied Gilgit Baltistan) by taking lease of precious mines, including copper, gold and uranium, by constructing air strips, and building railways and dams to change forever its environment, demography, geography and political dispensation.
We appeal to civilized world usually and European Union and USA particularly to put pressure on China and Pakistan to withdraw their forces from Gilgit Baltistan so that the two million people of this disputed region could decide their future without China and Pakistani interference by a free and impartial referendum or election for a constitutional assembly under the supervision of the UN according to its resolution of 13th August 1948. This is the only solution to avoid any future conflict between, Pakistan, India, China, Russia, USA or Europe in the future.
Abdul Hamid Khan
Balawaristan National Front (BNF)