Cradled in the lap of mountains at the foothills of auspicious Trikuta, besides the river Tawi at an altitude of 1030 ft. is Jammu. This 'city of temples' has many places...
To brutally exploit the rich natural resources, Pakistan is brazenly treating Gilgit-Baltistan like a colony by depriving natives of this region all constitutional and fundamental rights. This was stated by Capt. Alok Bansal, Director, India Foundation and Adjunct Professor, School of Management, New Delhi while delivering a special lecture jointly organized by Department of Strategic and Regional Studies (DSRS) University of Jammu and Jammu chapter of Jammu and Kashmir Study Centre (JKSC) at Jammu University. The special lecturer was organized on “Sankalp Diwas 1994 Parliament Resolution on POJK”. Vice Chancellor of University of Jammu, Prof M K Dhar presided over the function attended by members of the civil society and teaching and non-teaching faculty of the University of Jammu. “Pakistan has been treating Gilgit-Baltistan like a colony”, Capt Bansal said and emphasized on the need of fulfilling commitment made by the Parliament in the year 1994 to liberate the PoJK. “Every year on February 22, we have to reiterate the resolution of the Parliament to liberate the areas illegally occupied by Pakistan”, he emphasized. He pointed out that the non-local proportion of the population in Gilgit-Baltistan has increased significantly in recent years since the Pakistan government was violating a local law called State Subject Rule, which has opened the floodgates of immigration from Pakistan. He informed the gathering that former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Z A Bhutto had abolished State Subject Rule in Gilgit-Baltistan. He sought to draw attention of the audience that there has been a 63 percent rise in population in Gilgit-Baltistan between 1998-2011, resulting in an influx of outsiders in the region.
A new “Government of Gilgit Baltistan Order 2018" which stated, among other things, that “All Pakistanis recognised by the Pakistan Citizenship Act of 1951 as well as residents and those holding Gilgit-Baltistan domicile will be citizens of the area”.
In other words, the government intended opening up the area to all mainland Pakistanis, which would have caused the flood of immigration to increase to a point where the locals would have been completely marginalized and their culture and identities were under threat.
“Ethnic minorities are being persecuted in Gilgit-Balistan by the Pakistani authorities. These minorities suffer violence at the hands of state sponsored militants on a daily basis. These crimes against religious freedom must stop”, he demanded.
He said that Pakistan was shamelessly plundering natural resources in the Gilgit-Baltistan region which includes precious metals like gold, platinum, cobalt and precious gemstones like Topaz and Aquamarine.
Exploitation of natural resources at a large scale has resulted in widespread public protests recently across Gilgit-Baltisatn, an Indian territory, part of greater Jammu and Kashmir region, illegally occupied by Pakistan.
“Precious minerals, gems, metals and even uranium found in the Baltistan area were exploited. However, the revenues were not shared with the local government, igniting widespread protests in Gilgit-Baltistan,” he said.
“On the one hand natural resources in Baltistan are being looted by the government, while on the other the entire region is being neglected by the government”, Capt Bansal, who is an expert of Gilgit-Baltistan, said.
In his presidential address, Vice-Chancellor of Jammu University, Prof M K Dhar appreciated Department of Strategic and Regional Studies and JKSC for organizing the event. Prof Dhar said that people of J&K were emotionally attached with PoJK as many natives of the region are living in different parts of J&K.
He pointed out that India’s oldest University, Sharda Peeth is situated in the areas illegally occupied by Pakistan.
Earlier Prof Aroon Sharma, Director DSRS presented a brief profile of the Department and introduced Capt Alok Bansal.
Dr Monir Alam welcomed guests and the audience while as advocate Harswardan Gupta, secretary JKSC present vote of thanks