pakistan imposed ‘alien culture’ on pok, gilgit baltistan
Pakistan has been alleged to have deprived the locals in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit Baltistan of their history, traditions, customs, language and culture, as well as natural resources.
Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, the president of United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP), brought the UN’s attention to the violations taking place in this region. He urged the United Nations to push Pakistan to guarantee the people’s fundamental rights. Kashmiri told the world body that Pakistan has imposed an “alien culture” on the people of PoK and Gilgit Baltistan.”
“I on behalf of our organization request the United Nations to take note of these violations taking place in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, and ask Pakistan to uphold and guarantee all our fundamental human rights, encompassing civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights, including the right to development.”
Human Rights Violations in PoK
PoK is governed under the AJK Interim Act 1974. This legislation limits the rights of nationalist Kashmiris from participating in elections, or holding public office, unless and until they declare allegiance to Pakistan. It should be noted that Gilgit-Baltistan makes up majority of the PoK territory. India considers PoK, also referred to as Azad Kashmir, as an integral part of Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan has also been accused of carrying out extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture, in addition to discrimination against minorities. The Pakistani government is said to have placed restrictions on the locals freedom of expression and assembly in the stated region.
The former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan in 2020 granted Gilgit-Baltistan provincial status, to make this region Pakistan’s fifth province. It continues to be governed by the federal government. And the region’s constitutional ambiguity is the main reason for economic exploitation. Moreover, Chinese projects in Gilgit Baltistan are exploiting the locals of profits and resources.
People of Gilgit-Baltistan Have Been Marginalized
The UKPNP president people of this region have been completely marginalized. Highlighting the ongoing protests, Kashmiri said this went unreported by the Pakistani media. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan are demanding their ownership of natural resources, revival of statehood and availability of subsidized food essentials.
Furthermore, Kashmiri alleged that the locals are facing colonial and discriminatory policies under Pakistani administration. “The UKPNP demands Pakistan to end all such draconian laws that discriminate against the people of PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan in lines of ethnicity and cultural identity.”