European Parliament has special focus on Gilgit, Baltistan

April 13th, 2008 - 8:58 pm ICT by admin  

Brussels, Apr 13 (ANI): Representatives of the European Parliament have said that they have a special focus on Gilgit and Baltistan, which according to them was the most neglected and marginalized region of former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.

They have also called for reign of terror and deprivation in the remote and underdeveloped areas of Gilgit and Baltistan.

During the two-day conference on Gilgit Baltistan, Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, Secretary General of the International Kashmir Alliance (IKA) and Chairman of the United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP) had said 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.

Baroness Nicholson referred to the difficulties and opposition she had to face from Pakistan circles in getting her report adopted and the efforts she had to make to get an insight into Pakistan administered Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan due to the uncooperative attitude of Pakistan.

She also told the participants that for accomplishing her task she had to go through a series of meetings and interaction with all schools of opinion in order to learn about their views and the socio-economic and political situation on the ground that has kept the people and the area underdeveloped and underrepresented.

She then went on to highlight constitutional restraints and false political arrangements made by the Government of Pakistan regarding these areas.

She said: It was the first time to learn about the perspective and prospects of this area and its territorial significance in the South Asian region.

Baroness Nicholson further said that it was a matter of regret that Pakistan has illegally ceded this region and separated it from rest of Kashmir without the democratically collected will of the local people.

Speaking to the participants of the conference Mr. Jeffery Van Orden MEP said: European Parliament has a special focus on Gilgit Baltistan, the most neglected and marginalized region of former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.

He said that European Parliament would urge the Government of Pakistan to restore the fundamental rights of the people, install democratic institutions including a constitutional Assembly, self rule and an independent judiciary.

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”. (ANI)

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