by Farooq Ganderbali
Exploitation of the natural resources in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) by Punjabi-dominated Pakistani government has deprived the natives of the region of their own natural wealth. Pakistan is plundering the natural resources of PoK and GB without the consultation of the local population. Mega projects in the disputed territories of PoK and GB is a clear violation of the United Nations resolutions, which Islamabad often boasts and brags and other international laws.United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP), a forum fighting for the rights of the people of the two regions, has been demanding restoration of self-governance of the people of the two regions and ownership of their natural resources. They call up nationalist, democratic and secular-minded people to join hands with the party to combat extremism and terrorism in the entire region of Jammu and Kashmir, and particularly in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan. Hundreds of people, who are residing along district Kotli, Neelum Valley and other parts of PoK have disappeared for years. Scores of security personnel are refusing to cooperate. Political activists and members of civil society have become targets of state infrastructure and extremist outfits supported by Islamabad. The UKPNP leaders have urged upon the Pakistan Government to take effective measures to control activities of those who promote extremism, violence and intolerance in various parts of PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan and also make arrangements for the immediate release of all those who have involuntarily disappeared from the area. Party leaders strongly denounced restrictions on freedom of expression and press and asked Pakistan to lift the ban on newspapers, publications, books and booklets. The UKPNP called on Pakistan to withdraw all fabricated sedition charges against peaceful Kashmiri nationalists and demanded their immediate and unconditional release. Islamabad is treating areas of Kashmir illegally occupied by them as a colony. Pakistan has not developed infrastructure in the area with an ulterior motive and the residents continue to lead their lives without the basic privileges the modern world of today can afford. The areas of Kashmir illegitimately taken from India consist of PoK, Gilgit-Baltistan and territories given to China. Domestic or international press is not free to cover Pakistan Occupied areas of Kashmir, hence world does not so much know about the pitiable and underdeveloped condition of the masses. But sometime back the residents of PoK revolted against Islamabad.The sinister Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) which helps separatists in J&K is worried as their influence is diminishing and people want peace. Several parts of Pakistan controlled areas in Kashmir are Shia majority areas. Sunni dominated Pakistan is settling Sunnis from other provinces in Shia areas to change the demography of the region. India must give a strong message to Pakistan that several nationalities including Balooch, Pathans, Sindhis, Muhajiris etc are not only demanding more autonomy they want to secede from Pakistan. The terrorism and extremism has increased manifold in the country and the economy is in shambles hence instead of abetting terrorism in India Pakistan should keep its house in order.