Activists urge Pak to end 'illegal occupation' of PoK, Gilgit-Baltistan

Activists from various parts of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) gathered in Bagh district and carried out a protest rally to demand an end of Pakistan's illegal and forceful occupation of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. They have been participating in a two-day long convention of United Kashmir People's National Party (UKPNP). The activists raised concerns over construction of dams and other projects which are aimed to exclude the indigenous people from the local development. Jamil said in an exclusive interview to ANI, "The activists demanded Pakistan to release all those activists languishing in the prisons, including Baba Jan, because their peaceful political demands of the local development and the empowerment of the local people in Gilgit and Muzaffarabad". The activists were annoyed by serious environmental concerns in PoK and Gilgit Baltistan because of construction of mega dams and other projects. "The diversion of Neelum-Jhelum, which is known as Kishan Ganga in Jammu and Kashmir, has created a drastic environmental effect and affected the people in Muzaffarabad. We are in view that Pakistan is establishing such dams that are not benefiting the local people. They are not empowering the local youth and they remain unemployed and unable to find a livelihood", said Jamil Maqsood. The activists also opposed the multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which passes through a disputed territory of Gilgit Baltistan. Jamil said, "The UKPNP on international forums and with the regional political powers and with the regional governments also demanding that they should use their influence to stop Pakistan of creating such an hostile environment after China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which is not a pro-people project. We are in a view that the project is pro-military and it has a strategic interest and it aims not to develop local people either in Gilgit, Muzaffarabad or Balochistan or elsewhere in Pakistan". The activists made commitment to continue their struggle against Pakistani occupation of PoK and Gilgit Baltistan, Jamil Maqsood quoted them by saying, "The government of Pakistan should abide by its international obligation and UN resolutions which ask her to vacate the territory to push back all the tribal invaders and to vacate its military from the region, but nevertheless Pakistan has consolidated its occupation on both regions and the series of exploitation of the people and natural resources is still ongoing".