Abdul Hamid Khan, Chairman of Balawaristan National Front: An Interview.
Courtesy: Hindu Sitah
February 23, 2003: Unidentified gunmen killed at least nine Shiite Muslims and wounded eight as they headed to evening prayers in Karachi; the interesting fact is that all the victims hail from northern region (GILGIT BALTISTAN).
In an exclusive Interview with Mr. Abdul Hamid Khan Chairman of BNF (Balawaristan National Front), gives some insight into their problems of the people of Gilgit Baltistan and their movement, which wants freedom from Pakistan occupied Gilgit and Baltistan (Balawaristan) and are in favour political and economic integration with India. It’s website http://balawaristan.net/english.htm says ” Pakistan was given the gift of the 2 million innocent and simpleton people of BALAWARISTAN, …on 16th Nov. 1947 treacherously, NOTHING BUT…. sectarianism, disharmony, intolerance, poverty, ruined our culture, history, youth (NLI), introduced terrorist camps, snatched resources, land and peace, deprived Human Rights, Justice, Free Movement, Expression, Writing and insulted our Heroes and Martyrs “. Please read the interview!
1. Can you brief us about genesis of your movement, and why it is not covered in the Indian media?
We were not against Pakistani occupation by birth due to unawareness situation created in the area. We were sympathizers of Pakistan till the last of 1980’s because lack of knowledge and non-existence of political environment in Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan). Sympathizers in the sense, because we are not legal and constitutional citizens of Pakistan unlike India. We realized the ugly behaviour and satanic intention of Pakistan, when late general Zia the dictator and godfather of terrorists managed to attack our innocent Shia brothers by terming them as infidels by using Afghan terrorists in 1988. We can say it is not US, which has victimized by terrorists first, we the people of this disputed region first came under attack of terrorism in 1988 much before Sep. 11th in 2001.
As for as your question about the non coverage our issue by Indian media is concerned, we are in the opinion, that government of India and it’s media do not want to create problem for Pakistan by promoting anti Pakistani nationalist voice. It is astonishing that Pakistani newspapers give more coverage to the nationalist political parties of Balawaristan and PoK than Indian media. It is better to say that Indian media totally ignores the political struggle in Pakistan occupied areas. Government of India and its media neglect all kind of atrocities and victimization of Pakistan against the people of Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan) and PoK. While government of Pakistan and its media’s all efforts to encourage anti Indian feeling in J & K particularly and in Indian Muslims generally. It indicates that government of India and its media believe that their younger angry brother Pakistan will realize its mistakes soon rather than later, but this will again and again prove a nightmare for India. This illusion of Indian government and its media has caused irreparable loss, to its security, economy and dignity. Meanwhile both Pakistan and India have undeclared similar views on J & K issue. Both countries are facilitating the same party, i.e. APHC by media and other means. Both countries are opposing nationalists, who demand for freedom. Both the countries are encouraging terrorism in J & K directly or indirectly. Pakistan openly provide funds, training and weapons to the terrorists and send them towards Indian occupied J & K, while India shows very soft corner to the Pakistani sponsored terrorists and supports by providing full media coverage to promote their designs. The Indian media besides VOG, BBC and VOA are the main source of terrorists to propagate their agenda for terrorize the general masses. Indian Judicial system also facilitates terrorism by providing all kind of sympathies and help to the arrested terrorists. This is the reason that that terrorism does not stop at one point. This is the reason that Indian media overlook the political struggle against Pakistani occupation in Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan) and PoK.
2. How would you characterize the present state of Affairs in Pakistan occupied Balawaristan?
Pakistan have deprived all kind of Political, Economical, Cultural, Educational Rights, Human Rights, Fundamental Rights, Right of Speech, Right of Movement, Right of Writing to the 2 million people of Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan) by declaring them as disputed part of J & K. While enough rights have been given to the people of PoK with compare to that of Balawaristan. Our right of free movement, Right of writing and Speech are checked totally. Our people are not allowed to appeal in any court against Pakistani atrocities and Human Rights violation. We are not allowed to write a single word against Pakistan. Those political persons who raised their voice against Pakistani occupation have been victimized brutally and put them behind bars and registered sedition cases against them. More than 150 political workers and leaders of Balawaristan including me are facing death sentences in the false sedition charges. While APHC and other anti Indian people of J & K are free to speech, movement, writing and even in act within J & K, India and out side the world and no single person in J & K facing sedition charges. The people of J & K have access to their own High Court and Supreme Court of India. The people of J & K have the right of vote to choose their representative in J & K Assembly as well as Indian Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabaha. We the people of Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan) don’t have the right of even to vote what to say for representation in Assembly. It is a sin to think for Assembly and High Court in Balawaristan. We don’t have the right of access to Justice. The people of Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan) do not have the right of appeal / writ in High Court or Supreme Court against the death Sentence, if Pakistani imposed Session Judge (Which is called Chief Court) awards them. Pakistan has even snatched those rights which were given to them by the non-Muslim Muharaja of J & K before 1947.
3. What do you expect from India?
Only Political, Diplomatic and media help we need from India, nothing like that what Pakistan does to APHC and it’s terrorists Jehadis in the name of Political, Diplomatic and Moral help.
4. What is your interim strategy for drawing international attention to your movement ? Do you believe in armed struggle?
It is unfortunate, that international Community and world media attention cannot be diverted towards peaceful moment, unless and until blasts or large scale human losses occur. Instead of this international community and world media trend, we believe on peaceful political struggle. It will be a foolish act of Pakistan, if war is thrust upon us. Armed struggle is the worst compulsion for us, not option.
5. What are the most urgent challenges facing your movement, and how do you propose to meet them?
Financial problem is the main hindrance in the way of our struggle, because Pakistan has snatched all our resources. We request our brothers of Balawaristan who live in Pakistan and other countries of the world and sympathizers to support us financially and morally against the occupation of Pakistan, otherwise the aborigines people of this region will vanish as per Pakistani plan, which has settled its armed nationals in different areas of Balawaristan by violating UN resolutions as well as State Subject Rule. While in PoK and Indian occupied J & K State subject Rules are strictly followed.
6 Do you advocate or oppose economic and political integration with India?
Balawaristan’s independence, sovereignty and integrity are our main motto. I also appreciate the political and economical integration with India.
7. We came to know from an article that Musharraf was posted in this region, what were his activities in those days?
I don’t have any knowledge about general Musharraf’s ugly role during Zia regime. One thing I can say that Musharraf has committed crime, who killed hundreds of our brothers (NLI soldiers) by sending them on the Hills of Kargil in 1999.
8. What is the role of ISI in this region , and how strategic is Gilgit and Baltistan for both Pakistan and India ?
ISI’s main role in Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan), PoK and even Pakistan and elsewhere is to brain wash the innocent Wahabi un-employeed youth for terrorism. ISI teaches them hatred lessons against other religions and even other sects of Islam, trains them in handling all kinds of lethal weapons, making bombs and suicidal attacks against pro Indian Kashmiris, Indian citizens and Indian forces. ISI also kills those Kashmiris who deny to accept its directions. ISI also use these brain washed Wahabis against its own political and religious rivals within Pakistan beside Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan), and PoK.
The strategic importance of Balawaristan can be imagined by the concentration of both India and Pakistan’s futile endeavour to occupy Siachin glacier by deputing their forces below 50 and 60 degree freezing point peaks. One can imagine how the rest of the area is important for both the countries. The importance of Gilgit Baltistan had been realized even at the time of British rule in it’s great game. Besides India and Pakistan, China, Afghanistan, Russia and America also consider it as strategically important. Balawaristan really plays as backbone for Pakistan’s agriculture, and trade with China. Pakistan imports all kind of items from needle to Missile via KKH from China. In spite of all these benefits Pakistan is being denied fundamental, economical and political rights to the people of this disputed land.
9. How many terrorist training camps are there in your region? Can you you explain the mode of recruitment of your people into ISI training camps?
A.9. Darel, Tangir, Astore, Skardu City, Ghowadi near Skardu, Juglote on KKH near Gilgit and Gilgit City are used to train terrorists by ISI. Last week of 2000 August to first week of September, ISI shifted many Al-Qaida and Talibaan leaders and other important persons to Darel and Tangir of district Diamar from Dahrkoot border of Yasen, Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan). In one case one Abdur-Rehman a Wahabi fanatic from Yasen Bahrkoohlti arranged a Jeep No GLT 5566 to carry Talibaan/Al-Qaida from Tehrchhet of Yasen valley near Afghanistan and Chitral border to Gilgit between last week of August to the first week of September 2002, besides many ISI own vehicles. They were drooped inside the Kargah valley some 5 Kilometer north of Gilgit City on the way to Darel. Among those one person was covered in veil. These camps were/are being used by ISI to train terrorists for Indian occupied J & K, besides Afghanistan, Chechenya and other parts of the world as a part of Saudi Arab and Pakistan campaign against infidels.
10. As Shia Muslims, did you ever approach Iran for support ofyour movement ?
I don’t mix religion with politics. Because I am a nationalist who believes in nationalism, not religion. Therefore I condemned those who are involved in terrorism and religious hatred by using the name of Islam. I/We did not contact Iran for support to our movement.
11. There are many reports which are predicting balkanisation of Pakistan , what is your opinion on this ?
I don’t know any Balkanization in Pakistan. But it is open fact that Pakistan Army and its ISI are trying to turn the whole Pakistan besides Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan) and PoK in to Talibaanisation to revive the vanishing Talibaan/ Al-Qaida from Afghanistan. The sweeping win of fundamentalists in the pre-poll managed Elections of Pakistan, was nothing but an attempt of Pakistan Army to boost their falling morale and grip over the general masses as well as to gain more benefits from US and world community.
12. What factors you attribute to the failure of Balouch and Sindh movements, since their movements are older than Balawaristan ?
Lack of clear motto and direction of the leadership of Sindh and Baluchistan were the main causes of their failure in the moments, otherwise they would have been freed from the clutches of Punjabi dominated Pakistan much earlier with the help of their dedicated workers. It is unfortunate for the leadership of Muhajirs particularly, who failed to achieve their goal in spite of heavy sacrifices of the youth.
13. What is your vision for Balawaristan’s future?
There is no option for Pakistan, except to quit Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan) and let the2 million people of this disputed region to choose their fate, who are distinct in character, Culture and history. Free Balawaristan will revive its historical character of a powerful buffer state among other neighboring countries like Pakistan, India, China, Afghanistan and Central Asia. Balawaristan will create the sense of peace in the region one side and terrorism will die by itself on the other.
This is the most unfortunate story that deadly human rights voilation in POK and internationl human right cannot see what is happening in other side of india they run after the indian part of kashmir were peoples have every right ,shame on indian media and electronic media including policticians and human right organisation…………………..KP