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Banquet organized by Gilgit Baltistan National Congress in New York
Institute for Gilgit Baltistan Studies Institute for Gilgit Baltistan Studies
Washington DC, DC
Friday, May 10, 2013



MAY 9, 2013

Gilgit Baltistan National Congress held a banquet in honor of Chairperson of Gilgit-Baltistan National Alliance, Malika Baltistani, and Chairperson of Balawaristan National Front, Abdul Hamid Khan, who is currently touring different cities in the United States. In Washington D.C. and the New York City, he has held meetings with the Congress staffs, think tank officials and Diaspora of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Senge Sering, Director of Gilgit Baltistan National Congress welcomed the guests and thanked them for their support to the political rights movement in Gilgit-Baltistan. Kashmiri friends including Sardar Ishak Sharif, Saeed Iqbal, Imtiaz Hussain and Javed Inayat welcomed Abdul Hamid Khan to the USA and expressed solidarity. They asked the political leaders of both Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan controlled Kashmir to coordinate to achieve political rights while maintaining distinct administrative identities. They condemned the Kashmiri leadership which have abandoned the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and do not raise voice over rights violations in the region. Saeed Iqbal of Jammu & Kashmir Peoples National Party said that the pro-Pakistan Kashmiri leadership is only interested in claiming the land and resources of Gilgit-Baltistan but shows no interest in speaking for their rights. Kashmiri leadership cannot even visit Gilgit-Baltistan without the permission of military officials in Muzaffarabad. Javed Inayat said that only the nationalists of both regions have the stamina to work and collaborate on issues of mutual interest since they understand the legal aspects of the dispute and do not feel insecure in working together.

Malika Baltistani in her keynote speech expressed her support for the political activists of Gilgit-Baltistan who demand the right of self-determination. She said, "We will not accept a representation for Gilgit-Baltistan in the Pakistani parliament. Our aim is to establish an autonomous state with a separate electoral set up which provides absolute legislative rights and internal autonomy." She further said, "The Pakistani authorities physically tortured me and dragged me on the ground by pulling at my hair, and yet, we continued our struggle for the people of Gilgit-Baltistan especially for those who had come to Karachi for jobs and educational needs." She appreciated Gilgit Baltistan National Congress for holding events in the United States and Europe and asked the Diaspora to unite to make an effective case for Gilgit-Baltistan in the United Nations. She once again asked Pakistani authorities to open Kargil Skardo road for travel and trade. She also demanded immediate reinstatement of the state subject rule in Gilgit-Baltistan. She also condemned the forces which continue to conspire for the merger of Gilgit-Baltistan with Pakistan controlled Kashmir and reiterated her support for a separate political set up for Gilgit-Baltistan. She said, "We are neither Pakistani nor Kashmiris and therefore deserve our own administrative and political autonomous set up with direct access to the UN offices."

Abdul Hamid Khan in his keynote speech thanked Gilgit Baltistan National Congress for arranging the banquet and inviting all the guests. He asked the Diaspora to take more interest in the political issues of Gilgit-Baltistan and make efforts to learn about the constitutional issues. He asked US government to support the people of Gilgit-Baltistan in their pursuit for genuine autonomy.

While talking about the sacrifices of the workers of BNF, he said, "BNF workers continue to face sedition cases, torture and detention. We are not allowed to participate in local elections because we refuse to accept loyalty with the Pakistani state. Pakistani secret service agencies are threatening BNF workers and forcing them to abandon the party." While talking about the relations between Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir, he said, "Gilgit-Baltistan is a party to the dispute over the former princely state of Jammu & Kashmir. We are the fourth party but our right to equal representation during talks on Kashmir has not been accepted by the Pakistani authorities. The UNCIP resolutions accept Gilgit and Muzaffarabad as two separate local authorities which provide the basis for Gilgit-Baltistan to have a separate administrative and political entity till the solution of Kashmir dispute." He further said, "I am not against Kashmir. I am the one who promoted the idea of forming Gilgit-Baltistan Democratic Alliance and becoming member of the All Parties National Alliance. Further, we are not anti-Pakistan but fact remains that Pakistan has no capacity to grant rights to Gilgit-Baltistan. After 65 years, the authorities have no answers or result for us." He asked the UNO to deal directly with the leadership of Gilgit-Baltistan. He said, "It is in the interest of both India and Pakistan to have Gilgit-Baltistan as an independent country as both countries will benefit from transit and trade facility and Gilgit-Baltistan will work as a buffer between the four opposing nations of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and India, of which three have nuclear capability. 

In the end, Senge Sering thanked the guests for their presence and support to Gilgit Baltistan National Congress.


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Name: Senge Sering
Group: Institute for Gilgit Baltistan Studies
Dateline: Washington DC, DC United States
Direct Phone: 202 689 0647
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