Balawaristan leader’s statement in 14th Human Rights Council Session Geneva
11th June 2010
I am taking this opportunity to introduce my country Balawaristan (Pakistan occupied Gilgit Baltistan, Chitral and Shenaki Kohistan) and enlighten the readers about this region of great geographic and strategic significance. They are referred to as Northern Areas/sparsely populated mountainous region etc, in the UN documents, but now this area has been introduced by one of its name Gilgit Baltistan. Historically it is known as Brooshaal, Bloristan/Balawaristan and Dardistan.
The rights of human beings whether ethnic, culture, economica, political depend on their own democratically and freely chosen representatives or government.
But in case of Gilgit Baltistan, this is not the case. Legally as per UNCIP resolutions of 13th Aug 1948 and 5th Jan 1949, it’s disputed in the same way as in Jammu & Kashmir. Constitutionally India has included it in its territory but practically it’s under control of Pakistan.
This is an area of about 100,000 Sq Miles with about 2 million of population. Though it is rich in culture and resources, it’s also the most deprived and neglected area of the whole Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) dispute, because of its different and unique ethnical and cultural background not only in South Asia but also in the whole world. The people of Indian controlled J&K have their own full fledged Provincial/State Assembly with more autonomy than other Indian Provinces/States. It also has its own High Court and Supreme Court and they have the right to appeal in the Supreme Court of India. State Subject Rule which was introduced by Maharaja of J&K for J&K and Gilgit Baltistan in 1927, is fully functional in Indian side of J&K. Both Indian and J&K constitution provides guarantee to the State Subject Rule and its provincial status.
There is relatively less powers and authority given to government/civil administrators in Pakistani occupied Kashmir (PoK), comprises 4000 sq. miles, has Prime Minster and President who are sub-ordinate of KANA Ministry of Islamabad. But this part of J&K also have their own High Court and Supreme Court and State Subject is also functional here. Government of Pakistan has given a separate constitution to PoK which protects State Subject Rule and its setup to some extent.
I would like to bring to the notice of all that Gilgit Baltistan is under direct control of Pakistan but is not governed by the Pakistani constitution. The region spread over 72,000 sq. miles is totally manipulated by Pakistani regime with its legal and administrative system. There is no State or Provincial government and no High Court and Supreme Court. State Subject Rule is totally violated, which was promulgated to protect the ethnic, cultural and economic rights of the people of Gilgit Baltistan as is the case in both the Indian and Pakistan side of J&K. The newly established so-called Gilgit Baltistan Assembly has no protection of any constitution or law and thus we can say this is neither legal setup, nor it has powers of Legislation at all. It should be noted that there is no provision for appeal against death penalty and no plea to any High court or Supreme court can be made once a verdict is pronounced against a local person by Local Pakistani court.
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Adopted and opened for signature, ratification by General Assembly resolution 2200 A (XXI) of 16th December 1966. Entry in to force on 3rd January 1976 in accordance with Article 27.
Considering that, in accordance with the principles proclaimed in the charter of the United Nations, recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world, recognizing that, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ideal of free human beings enjoying freedom from fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his economic, social and cultural rights, as well as his civil and political rights.
The people of this region do not know what social rights in UN documents mean. The hospitality of this region was exemplary and the social character was so high that no other area of the world could be compared, but this was until 1971. Late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, hatched a conspiracy to hold its iron grip after 1971 by sending his immoral civil and Military force, not only to disturb its social behavior but also legal, economic and ethical values of Gilgit Baltistan in a planned way. Due to Pakistani slow invasion through state sponsored educational and trade system, the unique culture and economic independence, besides the high valued social behavior of this region, has also been disrupted by its Military and civil regime with the help of its fundamentalist, corrupt nationals and biased media. There is no reference for local indigenous languages, culture and history in the schools and colleges and foreign language Urdu and Arabic are taught by force. Pakistani regime has been providing huge funds to promote their own culture and language and discourage the unique culture, history and languages of Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral. Because of the colonial rule of Pakistan, the people of Gilgit Baltistan are deprived of economic, social and cultural rights.
This is the region where the ethnic, social and cultural rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are totally violated. This unhealthy intermingling of extreme cultures are slowly changing our values as Pakistani regime propagates hatred and fundamentalism which is totally contrary to our basic values which teaches us tolerance in all aspects of life. So in short, our culture and local folklore is under attack by the forced education system and a biased media with no representation.
Instead of withdrawing its forces and civil personnel within 3 months according to UNCIP Resolution of 28th April 1949, Pakistan has multiplied its forces and civi personnel to 1000 times, which has badly damaged its ethnic and cultural values on the one hand and bringing down the indigenous people’s economic conditions to the lowest level despite the presence of huge resources on the other hand.
The presence of Pakistani forces, its intelligence agencies and armed civilians and violation of State subject rule has harmed the unique ethnic, cultural and economic values of this region to the dangerous level.
There is not a single factory in this part of the world except small businesses for the local people. Trade with China is also under total control of Pakistani officials and the people of Gilgit Baltistan whose territory is used for this trade are totally ignored. There is no opportunity for the indigenous people of Gilgit Baltistan in any other area, except to join for minor jobs in government departments, which are totally under control of Military and Pakistani corrupt and biased officials.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
1. Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
2. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
Everyone in Gilgit Baltistan has to show his loyalty with Pakistan if he/she wants employment. No one is entitled to get any job, unless he/she is given clearance certificate by ISI. Even the people are not given loans from the banks on property mortgage if ISI does not allow. The locals are given sub-ordinate and low grade employment after the production of loyalty certificates.
The pay scale of NLI (Northern Light Infantry) is lower than their counterpart in Pakistan Army. There is no criteria for the promotion of the soldiers of Gilgit Baltistan and Chitral, who are always subordinated by Punjabis and Pathans, the Pakistani nationals. In civil services like Judiciary, Administration, Police, Education and other departments, Pakistani nationals are always preferred over the local indigenous people and their pay scale and promotion is always higher, because this is the Last Colony of 21st Century.
DISCRIMINATION WITH EMPLOYEES
This area is rich in natural resources like Minerals like high quality Gold, Ruby, Uranium and other precious and semi precious minerals, Water, Tourism, Forest, KKH, Tax, Custom, Wild Life and Air Routes etc. Although this area is devoid of economic development as majority of the population has to migrate to Pakistani cities in search of their livelihood, because the resources are not in the hands of the local people due to Pakistani occupation. Nationalists are largely the victims of this political discrimination systematically practiced by Pakistan in government jobs as well as other sectors which are apparently operating to mitigate the people’s economic hardships but in reality running on bank policies of the apartheid, against the nationalist political activists averse to the written policies of Pakistan. This apartheid policy does not exist only in government services or banks but in education, development institution, administration, Police, and Courts where it is widely practiced. Even such discriminatory practices are widespread in sanctioning loans, mortgages and seats to the professional colleges.
Discrimination against local employees in government departments such as Police, Administration, Para-Military forces, Education, Health and other departments is rampant. They are not only harassed but also arrested or dismissed by Pakistan Military and Civil administration. It has become daily routine. Those indigenous people who occupy higher but not highest jobs in the region also discrimination in terms of salaries and promotions too. For example the salary of the Police Soldier in Pakistan is twenty thousand and Gilgit Baltistan is eight thousand.
Recruitment in all departments including Administration, Courts, Police, Education and other Civil and Military departments are made based on fundamentalist sectarian lines and their sympathy towards Pakistan. The youth who do not support ISI’s fundamentalist approach and Pakistani occupation and give reference to the UN resolutions and demand fundamental Human Rights and Justice are discriminated.
The Civil and Political Rights given by Universal Declaration of Human Rights is meaningless as far as this disputed region is concerned. The following UN resolutions are also being ignored by Pakistan.
The territorial integrity and sovereignty given by UNSC (in UNCIP Resolutions) was also violated by Pakistan in giving 2500 Sq. Miles area to China in 1963 and Shhenaki Kohistan and Chitral was also annexed with its NWFP province (now Khyber Pukhtonkhowa). The resumption of work in construction of 3 mega dams out of 6 proposed Mega Dams on this disputed land is also a serious violation of territorial integrity and sovereignty given by UN in its resolutions.
General Assembly Resolution 1803 (XVII) of 14 December 1962, permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources
Recalling its resolutions 523 (VI) of 12 Jan 1952 and 626 (VII) of 21 Dec. 1952,
Bearing in mind its resolution 1314 (XIII) of 12 Dec. 1958, by which it established the Commission on Permanent Sovereignty over natural resources and instructed it to conduct a full survey of the status of sovereignty over natural wealth and resources as a basic constituent of the right to self-determination, with recommendations, where necessary, for its strengthening, and decided further that, in the conduct of the full Survey of the status of the permanent sovereignty of peoples and nations over their natural wealth and resources, due regard should be paid to the rights and duties of States under international law and to the importance of encouraging international co-operation in the economic development of developing countries,
Pakistan is misusing the funds of international community for terrorizing the indigenous people and forefront leaders of Diamar Chilas who oppose the proposed mega dam.
Ambassadors from different countries like Russia, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Korea, Bahrain, Iran, Turkey, Brunei, Tunisia, Jordan, Kenya, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Philippines and Malaysia were invited to Skardu for Conference on Friday from 14-16 May 2010, to explore the highly valued natural resources-rich region and specially minerals by the Pakistani regime without consulting the local indigenous people.
But Gilgit Chambers of Commerce President Mr. Javed Hussain and Import and Export President Mr. Mohammad Ali cleared that the local traders have strongly protested against this Pakistani move, which was aimed to snatch the natural resources by misguiding the honourable Ambassadors who should have honoured the disputed nature of this land according to the UNCIP resolutions and Pakistan has no legal stand. The people do not support investment from foreign countries including Pakistan, unless the reign is in the hands of local indigenous people.
NOTE :- Pakistani occupants had planned to exploit these precious gold mines with the help of AUAID and its corrupt PMDC. According to the agreement of Pakistan with Australia, 74% share would be in favour of AUAID , 23% for PMDC and the remaining 3% for the Pakistani Administration (Occupants) i.e Ministry of Kashmir and Northern Areas Affairs (KANA) and the Pakistani administration based in the Gilgit Baltistan (Balawaristan).As far as the share to the people of Balawaristan, who are the actual owners of these mines, nothing is promised.
Here is a brief outline of legislation in Gilgit Baltistan to show the world and the United Nations how deeply they control administration and the regional population, undermining the very soul of Universal Declaration of Human Rights that protects socio-economic and cultural values of the indigenous people.
As per the order of President of Pakistan (which has not been protected by any law or constitution), Gilgit Baltistan (GB) shall have a council consisting of the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the governor selected by the President of Pakistan, six members nominated by the Prime Minister from amongst the federal ministers and members of Parliament of Pakistan, the Chief Minister of GB, and six members to be elected by the assembly in accordance with the system of proportional representation. And let us not forget the federal minister for Kashmir affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan who is supposed to act as an ex-officio member of the council.
The council (composed of 8 Pakistani including Prime Minister and other Ministers and 6 locals (puppets) selected by Pakistani officials) have powers over post ,telegraphs, nuclear energy (with the hidden intention to dump nuclear waste in this region, otherwise what prompted Pakistan to give the nuclear energy powers to the Council of Gilgit Baltistan, which is disputed region and have no nuclear plant, or with the future intention to install nuclear weapons on this disputed land ),designs, copyright, trademarks, aircraft and air navigation regulation etc, railways (to build railways to supply Chinese items to Europe and Gulf via Gawadar port of Balochistan), matters related to incorporation and winding up of corporations, education, tourism and amongst other things, newspapers, books, and printing presses. All the powers rest with the government of Pakistan firmly even than before. So please see for yourself what rights and what constitution we have, everything is controlled by Pakistani regime here from post to media.
On the other hand, there is also a Legislative Assembly of 33 locally elected representatives from the region itself. Out of the 33 available seats, 24 (selected by Pakistani regime in rigged elections who support occupation of Pakistan) will be for those directly elected from the different areas of Gilgit Baltistan, six consist of reserved seats for women (selected by Pakistanis), and three for technocrats (selected by Pakistanis). Surprisingly, this Gilgit Baltistan Assembly has the power to legislate on protection of wild animals, prevention of cruelty to animals, money lending and money lenders, botanical, zoological and anthropological surveys, betting and gambling( which is vice totally foreign to local people), among other things.
In real sense the elected Assembly has the right to present resolution to the Pakistanis who control the non-elected Council. The irony is this Legislative Assembly is to present resolution on animals and have no right to legislate for the interest of the human beings of this disputed region. This is joke of Pakistan played with the people of Gilgit Baltistan and this is making fun of Democracy.
There are other restrictions on the assembly itself under Article 44 of the order, whereby they cannot discuss foreign affairs, defence, internal security and financial plans of the area. Such fraudulent instruments are creating destruction to the social economical and ethnical rights of the indigenous people.
The presence of Pakistani forces is posing a grave threat to the life, dignity, fundamental economic, social and political rights and the very existence of the indigenous people. It may be called a failure or apathy on the part of the UN that, in spite of the UNSC guarantee, the territorial integrity and sovereignty of this land is compromised. UNCIP resolution is being violated by engulfing Shandur, Baboosar, Kohistan, Chitral and ceding parts of Hunza to China and now in the shape of Bhasha Dam, Bunji Dam and 5 other mega dams, destroying and submerging a number of rare monuments, and displacement of the indigenous people, which obviously changes the demography as well as geography of this disputed colony under Pakistan. Three people were killed and many were injured by Pakistani regime in Chilas, when they protested against the forceful occupation of their lands for Bhasha Diamar dam. It is irony that the socio-economic, cultural, democratic and fundamental rights and right to freedom for the 2 million people, as guaranteed by UN according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is openly dishonoured.
The government of Pakistan and its emissaries always misguide the international community and deny each and every crime of its regime and intelligent agencies.
Without indigenous control, local language, culture and social values cannot be protected promised by Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The people of this region are not made aware of Civil and Political Rights, due to continued foreign occupation since 16th November 1947.
We appeal to UN and UNHRC to send special reporters / experts to assess the situation of Gilgit Baltistan, to ascertain the ground reality and Pakistani official propaganda, and present unbiased facts which are more disturbing than what has been mentioned here, because of the limitations and restrictions of UNHRC.
Abdul Hamid Khan
Balawaristan National Front (BNF)
Head Off: Majini Mahla, Gilgit, Balawaristan (Pakistan China Occupied Gilgit Baltistan)
www.balawaristan.net, Email: Balawaristan@gmail.com
Brussels Tele: 0032 22311750