End reign of terror, deprivation in Gilgit, Baltistan: EU-Kashmir Alliance

Brussels, Apr.8 (ANIRepresentatives of the European Parliament and the International Kashmir Alliance (IKA) on Tuesday called for an end to Pakistans reign of terror and deprivation in the remote and underdeveloped areas of Gilgit and Baltistan.

Brussels, Apr.8 : Brussels, Apr.8 : Representatives of the European Parliament and the International Kashmir Alliance (IKA) on Tuesday called for an end to Pakistan’s reign of terror and deprivation in the remote and underdeveloped areas of Gilgit and Baltistan.

In a telecon from Brussels, Mr. Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, Secretary General of the IKA and Chairman of the United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP) told ANI that participants attending a conference on Kashmir were of the unanimous view that Gilgit and Baltistan were not a part of Pakistan, but a part of Jammu and Kashmir.

He said the participants emphatically emphasised that the system of state oppression as encouraged and espoused by the authorities in Islamabad should be terminated forthwith, and steps should be taken to introduce more healthier and freer forms of governance, to ensure greater socio-economic emancipation for the people of these regions.

Stating that the deliberations on Kashmir were going along expected lines, Mr. Kashmiri said that among the Members of the European Parliament who attended Tuesday’s moot were Dr. Golik, Madame Popo, Geoffrey Fan, Dr. Miko Marianne, Baroness Emma Nicholson, Dr. Charles Tannock and Nirj Bevea. key contributor to Tuesday’s moot was Dr. Charles Graves, Secretary General of the Washington-headquartered Interfaith Alliance Foundation (TIA), which promotes democratic values, defends religious liberty, challenges hatred and religious bigotry, and reinvigorates informed civic participation, he said.

He said that the organization has approximately 185,000 members from more than 75 faith traditions and belief systems.

Among the Kashmiris participating in the conference apart from him, were Dr. Nasir Gilani, Chairman of the IKA, Mumtaz Khan, the Vice-Chairman of the IKA, National Conference leader Abdul Rahim Rather and Naeem Khan of the Vienna-based Kashmir Centre.

He emphasised that the areas of Gilgit and Baltistan were a legal and constitutional part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and that Pakistan was in deliberate oocupation of these areas, denying basic human rights to people living there.

Kashmiri told ANI that the focus of the deliberations would be on trying to determine the Constitutional status of Gilgit and Baltistan, as well as discussions on the measures required to improve socio-economic conditions of the people of these underdeveloped and remote areas.

He said that Tuesday’s conference would take forward the deliberations and resolutions passed by the European Parliament during its last meeting here on May 24, 2007.

All five regions — the Kashmir Valley, Jammu, Ladakh, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan are perceived to be disputed and part of the Jammu and Kashmir state, as they were at the time of partition.

The IKA has been at the forefront of promoting intra-Kashmir dialogue.

Kashmiri commentators and political activists see the IKA as a symbol of resistance, as it opposed politics of violence and intimidation.

It has challenged the division of the state, and reinforced state boundaries at a time when so-called nationalists and other Kashmiri leaders are considering different options that could lead to a permanent division of Kashmir.

The IKA has always been of the view that the Government of Pakistan is not in the least bit interested in providing the right of self-determination to Kashmiris and to secure the unity of the state.

It has repeatedly reiterated that Islamabad’s sole interest is to get more territory “either by force or by giving people a right of accession in place of right of self-determination”.

Pakistan, its institutions and all its lobbyists suffered humiliating defeat in Europe on the issue of Emma Nicholson report issued in the middle of last year.

Islamabad literally opened up its coffers to send many delegations to Europe to convince the European Parliament to rule in its favour on the Kashmir issue, but only managed to get the support of nine MEPs.


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