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Pakistan's nightmare: AAC prevails in Gilgit; killings and Land-grab in Diamer condemned
Institute for Gilgit Baltistan Studies Institute for Gilgit Baltistan Studies
Washington, DC
Sunday, March 16, 2014


The 25th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, March 2014


Item 3 (General Debate): Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development

Presented by Senge Sering (World Economic and Resource Counc...il)


Honorable Mr. President and distinguished delegates


Like in Tibet, March 10 this year became the national uprising day in the UN declared disputed region of Gilgit-Baltistan. Locals, leaving behind their religious, ethnic and political differences, observed a complete shutter down supporting a strike call of Peoples' Action Committee (AAC). The entire nation, dwelling in an area larger than the Republic of Ireland, felt compelled to disrupt life because a member of UNHRC and signatory to multiple UN resolutions since 1948 has thumped its nose at the international law, morality and all ethical standards by depriving the people of Gilgit-Baltistan of basic rights simply because it has the military might to do so.


Mr. President


Locals are protesting since Pakistan which occupies Gilgit-Baltistan has kept them hostage in the name of Kashmir issue and denies constitutional rights. People are agitated because seven of their fellow citizens were recently killed in Diamer district while defending their land against the Pakistani aggressors. The death of these innocent people gives new meaning to restoring state subject rule in Gilgit-Baltistan, which was abrogated in 1974 to tighten grip on the region.


Protesters desire an end to the paramilitary rule in Gilgit-Baltistan which has disrupted life and polarized the society on religious lines. They demand an end to illegal involvement of multinational corporations including the Chinese mining companies which exploit local resources including uranium, copper and gold and deny revenue and ownership to the lawful local owners. They are asking for the revival of trade between Ladakh, Gilgit-Baltistan and Afghanistan's Wakhan belt.

They are raising voices for the political prisoners including Iftikhar Hussain and hundreds of others who face sedition charges and torture for speaking against the colonial attitude of Pakistani occupiers promoting cultural and religious imperialism; and for opposing taxation without representation, bad governance, joblessness and poverty; and for supporting restoration of economic subsidies and the fundamental right to food and other provisions in an area where more than half of the population continues to live below the poverty line.


It is the primary responsibility of the state to prevent advancement of extremist groups like Jamat Islami which demands merger of Gilgit-Baltistan with Pakistan controlled Kashmir thus expanding the scope for terrorist organizations like JeM, LeT and Taliban. Given huge dependency of local economy on trade and tourism, the last thing that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan need is Kashmiris disrupting commerce and social fabric by chanting Jihadi slogans in our neighborhoods and establishing death squads.


Mr. President


Three generations of people from Gilgit-Baltistan, called the last colony by human rights experts, have suffered and continue to live as prisoners in their own land and they have nowhere to look but to the international community to restore their freedom, basic rights and dignity. Solution to above mentioned problems lies in Pakistan respecting the UN resolutions by withdrawing her armed forces and citizens and restoring genuine autonomy in Gilgit-Baltistan.


In the end, I request the UN special rapporteurs on freedom of religion and belief, freedom of opinion and expression, arbitrary detention, extreme poverty and human rights, the right to food, freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, and the special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples to visit Gilgit-Baltistan for fact finding purposes.


I thank you Mr. President.....

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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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