India’s bid to sabotage CPEC                                                       

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Mohammad Jamil

India in a bid to sabotage CPEC is using sub-nationalists in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), and the US and the West give importance to Indian stance on GB and AJK issues for obvious reasons. In an interview with the Sunday Guardian last month, Chairman of Balwaristan National Front (BNF), Abdul Hamid Khan, who is in self-imposed exile in Belgium, stated: “India should take the issue of Pakistan Occupied Gilgit-Baltistan (PoGB) boldly and support them fully, both diplomatically and politically, and should give this issue enough space in its media.” Pakistan should ask the respective governments to disallow Kashmiri sub-nationalists using western countries’ soil for anti-state activities on the direction and financial support of RAW. On 1st October 2017, Abdul Hamid Khan said, if given the chance, people of GB would vote for India, which means that in his heart he believes that UN resolution has yet to be implemented.

On 20th September 2017, he wrote a lengthy letter to Antonio Guterres, Secretary General United Nations, in which he stated: “Political activists, religious persons and students of PoGB who do not comply with occupation regime’s dictation have been framed under the controversial anti-Terrorist act and Schedule 4. The lives, property and freedom of the people are under serious threat due to Pakistan and China’s joint conspiracy to strengthen their occupation under the garb of CPEC.” He went on to state that under UNCIP resolution, Pakistan has no right to remain in this disputed land and Pakistani forces should have been withdrawn within a period of 3 months after UNCIP resolution passed on 28th April 1949. He conveniently forgot that India also did not withdraw its forces; instead it deployed 500000 to 700000 troops who continued murder, rape and killing people in fake encounters in addition to committing atrocities on Kashmiris.

In the above letter to the UN, Abdul Hamid Khan wrote that people of GB have no right of vote to elect their representatives, which is a blatant lie. In August 2009, an ordinance was introduced by the government of Pakistan called Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-governance Order. Some salient features of the Order were: “The areas presently known as Northern Areas have been renamed as Gilgit-Baltistan.  It would now have an elected Legislative Assembly, which would elect the CM, and a governor will be appointed by the president on the advice of the PM. Gilgit-Baltistan would have its own Public Service Commission and an auditor general. The chief judge of the Supreme Appellate Court shall be appointed by the chairman of the council on the advice of the governor.” Furthermore, six ministers and two advisors will be elected to assist the CM.

The Legislative Assembly shall have 24 members who shall be elected directly, besides six women and three technocrats. In September 2017, the committee formed for reforms in GB, recommended that three NA members be elected from Gilgit, Diamar and Baltistan region through the set procedure of election across the country, while three members for the Senate will be elected by the Legislative Assembly of the region. It means all measures have been taken to bring people of GB at par with the people of other provinces. Self-styled leaders like Abdul Hamid Khan and others will continue with their propaganda at the behest of India to sabotage the CPEC. But Pakistan will not lower its guard and it would protect all areas that stand to benefit from CPEC including Gwadar Port, which is a vital component of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Under the prevailing threat of terrorism, security of Gwadar Port has gained great importance and is vital for the success of CPEC. In this regard Pak Navy has established a comprehensive Coastal Security and Harbour Defence Organization including Task Force-88. This organization has the capabilities to ensure gapless monitoring of all coastal waters and respond to arising contingencies. Though Gwadar Port is primarily a commercial port, however, Pak Navy is also establishing a separate Naval Base at Gwadar to house its assets to ensure the security of this important port and its seaward approaches. This Naval Base will be used by Pak Navy and PMSA units, which will be employed for security and defence of Gwadar Port. Recently, the United States Department of Defense has released a report according to which China may be considering a large naval base in Pakistan as its potential second overseas military installation, after Djibouti, which is travesty of the truth.

On Wednesday, the 70th Independence Day of Gilgit-Baltistan was celebrated with traditional zeal and fervor. The day started with the prayers at the mosques for solidarity of Pakistan, unity of Muslim Ummah and liberation of occupied territories of Kashmir and Palestine. The main function was held in historic Chinar Bagh Yadgar-e-Shuhada. Governor Gilgit-Baltistan Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Chief Minister Hafiz Hafeez-ur-Rehman, Force Commander Northern Areas Maj General Saqib Mahmood Malik along with civil and military officials and GB war veterans attended the flag hoisting ceremony. High officials laid floral wreath at the Yadgar-e-Shuhada and offered Fateha. On November 1, 1947, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan had revolted against Dogra Raj and liberated 72,000 square kilometres of geo-strategically located land. Gilgit-Baltistan connects Pakistan with its all-weather friend China and Afghanistan. Abdul Hamid Khan should remember that it was India that announced integration of Kashmir with Indian union in 1957 showing utter disregard to the UN resolutions.