London/Washington [UK/US], November 4 (ANI): People across Gilgit-Baltistan are up in arms against Islamabad's decision of integrating the illegally occupied region with the rest of Pakistan.
In the run-up to the assembly elections in this so-called autonomous region, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan recently announced that the region will become a provisional province of Pakistan - a declaration that has drawn massive condemnation from both people and politicians.
Activists wonder as to how an occupying state which has no locus standi over the region can take a call of subsuming it with the rest of Pakistan.
Sajjad Raja, Chairman of National Equality Party JKGBL said, "Imran Khan's speech is merely an election stunt aimed at begging pro-province votes in Gilgit Baltistan. Gilgit Baltistan is an integral part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and we shall never let Pakistan to either change its status or to divide it further. Pakistan's continued occupation of Gilgit Baltistan and PoJK is a clear violation of the United Nations' resolutions and we demand that Pakistan must immediately withdraw all forces and citizens from Gilgit Baltistan and PoJK".
Observers have been taken by surprise as they say that Pakistan always knew about its immoral authority over the region.
It was due to this that Pakistan maintained even at international platforms that Gilgit Baltistan was a disputed territory.
So what exactly has changed now?
China, yes it is China's growing sway in Pakistan's decision-making that has shaped Islamabad's call.
China wants Gilgit Baltistan to have a political status within the constitutional framework of Pakistan so that its ambitious China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) doesn't suffer any political roadblocks.
Status elevation would also mean that Pak-China nexus can go to any levels of exploitation without undergoing rights scrutiny. People say they will never accept being part of Pakistan as their true identity is Indian.
Senge H. Sering, a political activist from Gilgit Baltistan who is now based in Washington DC said, "People of Gilgit Baltistan are Indian citizens. One job that the United Nations gave to Pakistan was to withdraw from Gilgit Baltistan. But Pakistan and China have colluded to maximize the exploitation and abuse of local resources and in order to give a constitutional cover to their illegal activities in Gilgit Baltistan and the violation of the UN Resolutions, Pakistan has decided to give GB a province status without giving constitutional rights".
"You were an occupier, you are an occupier and you will remain an occupier. So, we humbly request you to vacate our land. Leave Gilgit Baltistan and leave illegally occupied PoJK before our people throw you out by force. I believe it is a black day for us", said Dr. Amjad Ayub Mirza, a political activist from PoK now based in Glasgow.
The region of Gilgit Baltistan was a part of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir before 1947. Islamabad had sent tribal mercenaries to invade it post India's partition.
The king of the state, Maharaja Hari Singh had then signed an instrument of accession on 26th October 1947 declaring his state's formal merger with India.
But, Pakistan never vacated the region it had occupied. Even today, the people of the region demand freedom from its clutches.
A change in the Gilgit Baltistan status has only emphasized the brutal fact that Pakistan doesn't care about people and their rights. (ANI)