New Delhi: A Pakistani human rights activist has called Islamabad’s move to fortify its occupation of Gilgit-Baltistan by holding elections in the region illegal. He has urged people in Gilgit-Baltistan to boycott the polls sponsored by Pakistan.
Gilgit-Baltistan, a part of former state of Jammu and Kashmir, has been under Pakistan’s occupation since 1947.
Right now, Pakistan is “conspiring to hold elections in Gilgit Baltistan by hook or crook”, Amjad Ayub Mirza, a rights activist from Mirpur in Pakistan-occupied Jammu & Kashmir (PoJK) and now based in UK, said in a video message which he posted on social media.
The objective of the polls is to establish a government of its own choice and subsume in Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan, he said.
“Under the current circumstances, free and fair elections in Gilgit are impossible because of the colonial Schedule IV and Anti-Terrorism Act which are used to crush civil dissent by arresting people and censoring them if they express their political views.”
The Imran Khan government recently banned the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM), Sindhudesh Revolutionary Army (SRA) and Sindhudesh Liberation Army (SLA) under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997. All the political parties were fighting for historical, political, economic and human rights of Sindhi people and have been victims of state human rights violations, according to the World Sindhi Congress.
Incidentally, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), in a searing report, slammed the federal government for nullifying Gilgit Baltistan’s province-like status granted in 2009 as per the Empowerment and Self-Governance Order. The federal government in 2018 withdrew whatever “negligible powers” that had been delegated to the region, the commission said.