This post will provide the context for sophisticated methods used by the world powers and also the background to the origins of so called “Nationalistic Movements” as well as the very recent incident in Karimabad Hunza. I hope the intellectuals of the region do read my views to increase the awareness of different forces involved in the 21st century “Great Game” and help prepare a determination within the population – specially young impressionable minds not fully aware of the history – to resist the nefarious long term intentions.
Wednesday, 15 August, 2001, 01:44 GMT 02:44 UK
Pakistan’s Northern Areas dilemma
(Caption of the picture -not posted): Resentment is growing over the local population’s lack of political status
By Victoria Schofield
For over 50 years, the Northern Areas in Pakistani-administered Kashmir have been administered by Pakistan although they are not legally part of it. (compare this statement to the instruments of accession rendered by Mir of Hunza, Mir of Nagar, Governors of Yasin, Punial and Koh-i-Ghizr in 1948 and also the meetings with Liaqat Ali Khan in Karachi – Read the book by William Brown also posted on this blog)
This curious position arises from what the Pakistani Government calls its unresolved dispute with India over the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.
(caption of another picture):The region is strategically very important
When a ceasefire was agreed between the two warring countries in 1949, Pakistan retained control of one-third of the state, India two-thirds.
Of the area administered by Pakistan, a small strip of territory established its separate administration and became known as Azad (Free) Jammu and Kashmir.
The larger area to the north, through which the river Indus runs, was taken under the direct administration of the government of Pakistan.
Click here to see a map of the region
It borders Pakistan’s North-West Frontier to the west, Afghanistan and China to the north, Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir to the east, leading to the frozen wastes of the Siachen glacier.
The Northern Areas are, therefore, as strategically important to Pakistan as they were to the British in the days of empire.
The issue of its status appears even more anomalous because, at the time of independence, the princes whose separate principalities comprised the area, had indicated their willingness to join Pakistan.
That their accession has never been accepted has been a great disappointment to the majority of the approximately one million inhabitants, who are 100% Muslims (Sunnis, Shias and Ismailis).
Many of the boys who died in Kargil were from the Northern Light Infantry which is based in Skardu.
Unlike Pakistan’s other four provinces, the Northern Areas therefore have no political representation and no status under Pakistan’s constitution.
Instead their affairs are subject to the control of a non-elected minister for northern areas who is selected by the federal government.
From Pakistan’s point of view, the accession of the Northern Areas could not be accepted lest India interpret the action as validation of the status quo.
The fear is that Delhi could see this as an indication that Pakistan was prepared to accept the ceasefire line as an international border and that the UN resolutions, requiring a plebiscite to be held throughout the state, were no longer relevant.
Mass movement (Note the term used and also the ground reality! – Hisam)
Even so resentment among the local people remains.
Relations were also strained when, following the construction of the Karakoram Highway in 1978, Pakistan set up a customs post at Sost – just south of the Khunjerab pass leading from China.
The local inhabitants fiercely resisted any attempt at taxation and adopted the slogan “no taxation without representation”.
Mirroring the movement for independence which began in Indian-administered Kashmir in the late 1980s, a movement for independence in the Northern Areas has now been gaining adherents.
Many of those who fought in Kargil were from the area
It is currently divided between those who are demanding independence of the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir and those who are calling for the independence of Balawaristan (from the old name by which the Northern Areas were once known, Boloristan).
This movement has been given renewed impetus among the youth following Pakistan’s incursion into Kargil in 1999.(note the psychology behind these sentences.)
“You see many of the boys who died in Kargil were from the Northern Light Infantry which is based in Skardu,” says a local journalist.
“They are upset that initially they were not owned by Pakistan. Instead the Pakistani Government tried to pass them off as mujahideen.”
On the other hand, those who see the benefits of not paying taxes are less concerned about their lack of political rights than about the economic aid they are now being given to develop what is still a poor region.
Pakistan’s leaders are unlikely to relinquish control
Recent initiatives by the Pakistani Government to encourage tourists to come and view an area which contains spectacular mountain peaks, almost equal in height to Mount Everest, are welcomed.
There is now some slight hope that if the Kashmir dispute is indeed resolved by India and Pakistan, it may pave the way for a resolution of the political status of the Northern Areas as well.
Those, however, who support the independence movement are bound to be disappointed.
Pakistan may have consistently supported the Kashmiris’ right of self determination and continued to insist that the Northern Areas form part of the disputed territory, but, regardless of its lack of political representation, the government has always regarded the Northern Areas as ultimately part of Pakistan.
There is, therefore, no question of Pakistan ever agreeing to relinquish control of the area, either to form part of an independent state of Jammu or Kashmir or as an independent state in its own right.
Victoria Schofield is a Pakistan analyst and a writer on South Asian affairs
Latest (with compliment to Ejazullah Beg and Pamir Times):
China’s Discreet Hold on Pakistan’s Northern Borderlands
By SELIG S. HARRISON Published: August 26, 2010
While the world focuses on the flood-ravaged Indus River valley, a quiet geopolitical crisis is unfolding in the Himalayan borderlands of northern Pakistan, where Islamabad is handing over de facto control of the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region in the northwest corner of disputed Kashmir to China. The entire Pakistan-occupied western portion of Kashmir stretching from Gilgit in the north to Azad (Free) Kashmir in the south is closed to the world, in contrast to the media access that India permits in the eastern part, where it is combating a Pakistan-backed insurgency. But reports from a variety of foreign intelligence sources, Pakistani journalists and Pakistani human rights workers reveal two important new developments in Gilgit-Baltistan: a simmering rebellion against Pakistani rule and the influx of an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army. China wants a grip on the region to assure unfettered road and rail access to the Gulf through Pakistan. It takes 16 to 25 days for Chinese oil tankers to reach the Gulf. When high-speed rail and road links through Gilgit and Baltistan are completed, China will be able to transport cargo from Eastern China to the new Chinese-built Pakistani naval bases at Gwadar, Pasni and Ormara, just east of the Gulf, within 48 hours. Many of the P.L.A. soldiers entering Gilgit-Baltistan are expected to work on the railroad. Some are extending the Karakoram Highway, built to link China’s Sinkiang Province with Pakistan. Others are working on dams, expressways and other projects. Mystery surrounds the construction of 22 tunnels in secret locations where Pakistanis are barred. Tunnels would be necessary for a projected gas pipeline from Iran to China that would cross the Himalayas through Gilgit. But they could also be used for missile storage sites. Until recently, the P.L.A. construction crews lived in temporary encampments and went home after completing their assignments. Now they are building big residential enclaves clearly designed for a long-term presence. What is happening in the region matters to Washington for two reasons. Coupled with its support for the Taliban, Islamabad’s collusion in facilitating China’s access to the Gulf makes clear that Pakistan is not a U.S. “ally.” Equally important, the nascent revolt in the Gilgit-Baltistan region is a reminder that Kashmiri demands for autonomy on both sides of the cease-fire line would have to be addressed in a settlement. Media attention has exposed the repression of the insurgency in the Indian-ruled Kashmir Valley. But if reporters could get into the Gilgit-Baltistan region and Azad Kashmir, they would find widespread, brutally-suppressed local movements for democratic rights and regional autonomy. When the British partitioned South Asia in 1947, the maharajah who ruled Kashmir, including Gilgit and Baltistan, acceded to India. This set off intermittent conflict that ended with Indian control of the Kashmir Valley, the establishment of Pakistan-sponsored Free Kashmir in western Kashmir, and Pakistan’s occupation of Gilgit and Baltistan, where Sunni jihadi groups allied with the Pakistan Army have systematically terrorized the local Shiite Muslims. Gilgit and Baltistan are in effect under military rule. Democratic activists there want a legislature and other institutions without restrictions like the ones imposed on Free Kashmir, where the elected legislature controls only 4 out of 56 subjects covered in the state constitution. The rest are under the jurisdiction of a “Kashmir Council” appointed by the president of Pakistan. India gives more power to the state government in Srinagar; elections there are widely regarded as fair, and open discussion of demands for autonomy is permitted. But the Pakistan-abetted insurgency in the Kashmir Valley has added to tensions between Indian occupation forces and an assertive population seeking greater of local autonomy. The United States is uniquely situated to play a moderating role in Kashmir, given its growing economic and military ties with India and Pakistan’s aid dependence on Washington. Such a role should be limited to quiet diplomacy. Washington should press New Delhi to resume autonomy negotiations with Kashmiri separatists. Success would put pressure on Islamabad for comparable concessions in Free Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. In Pakistan, Washington should focus on getting Islamabad to stop aiding the insurgency in the Kashmir Valley and to give New Delhi a formal commitment that it will not annex Gilgit and Baltistan. Precisely because the Gilgit-Baltistan region is so important to China, the United States, India and Pakistan should work together to make sure that it is not overwhelmed, like Tibet, by the Chinese behemoth.
Selig S. Harrison is director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy and a former South Asia bureau chief of The Washington Post.
Please also see my year 2005 Analysis as contained in the posts dated 02 March 2010 and 06 Apr 2010:
It is also interesting to see my year 2005 analysis in the above posts and the context contained in following statements by Hillary Clinton in Apr 2009, we need to comprehend the designs and safeguard ourselves – in simple words avoid being manipulated by parties based outside the region (Increased Interest by various Political Parties of Pakistan are not without any reason:)
US created Taliban and abandoned Pakistan: Clinton
By Anwar Iqbal Saturday, 25 Apr, 2009
…. But the problems we face now to some extent we have to take responsibility for, having contributed to it. We also have a history of kind of moving in and out of Pakistan,’ she said.
‘Let’s remember here… the people we are fighting today we funded them twenty years ago… and we did it because we were locked in a struggle with the Soviet Union.’
‘They invaded Afghanistan… and we did not want to see them control Central Asia and we went to work… and it was President Reagan in partnership with Congress led by Democrats who said you know what it sounds like a pretty good idea… let’s deal with the ISI and the Pakistan military and let’s go recruit these mujahideen.’
‘And great, let them come from Saudi Arabia and other countries, importing their Wahabi brand of Islam so that we can go beat the Soviet Union.’
‘And guess what … they (Soviets) retreated … they lost billions of dollars and it led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.’
“Pakistan has no Locus Standi in Gilgit Baltistan”
06.15.10, 10:00 AM EDT
GENEVA, June 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — A conference on “Ground Reality in Gilgit-Baltistan” was held in the United Nations Geneva Room No. XXVII during the 14th Human Rights Council to address the issues and concerns of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, which is a region of Jammu & Kashmir under Pakistani occupation. At the end of the conference, MEP Ryszard Czarnecki and Senge Hasnan Sering of Gilgit-Baltistan National Congress called the press to issue a joint statement.
The MEP informed the audience about the partnership which has developed between the advocacy groups of Gilgit-Baltistan and the representatives of the EUP. He said that the partnership has helped promote the cause of self determination of Gilgit-Baltistan and highlighted the plight of the people. MEP expressed his concern that Gilgit-Baltistan is situated in a politically sensitive region and surrounded by three nuclear powers namely India, Pakistan and China. Moreover, if the genuine demands of the natives of this region are not respected then it can cause further instability. He said, ”India and Pakistan must work together on the issue of Gilgit-Baltistan and constitute a working group involving the representatives of the governments of both countries as well as those from the civil society of Gilgit-Baltistan.” MEP also expressed his concern for Pakistan’s unilateral decision to use the land and resources of Gilgit-Baltistan to construct mega dams, which inundates local dwellings, farmland, pastures and also impacts the wildlife habitats.
MEP expressed his disappointment with the government of Pakistan, after being refused the permission to visit Gilgit-Baltistan, which could have allowed him to learn about the ground realities. He showed his desire to meet the members of the civil society and human rights defenders of Gilgit-Baltistan after receiving the opportunity to travel to Gilgit-Baltistan. MEP said, ”The issue of Gilgit-Baltistan will be raised in the European Union Parliament, and the members will be informed about Pakistan’s apathy towards the rights and concerns of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.”
Mr. Senge Hasnan Sering, who is in Geneva to attend the fourteenth UNHRC Session, also spoke on the occasion to the media and members of advocacy groups, HR defenders and political action committees. He said, ”Pakistan’s presence in Gilgit-Baltistan is illegal and the unilateral decision to impose herself on the land and people of Gilgit-Baltistan is a clear violation of the resolutions of the UNCIP on Jammu & Kashmir. If Pakistan continues to occupy the region, the unstable political conditions may ensue in a nuclear war between India and Pakistan. It is in the best interest of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan as well as the international community to persuade Pakistan to withdraw its forces and civil administration from the region.”
Senge Sering objected to the fact that Pakistani citizens continue to arrive in Gilgit-Baltistan and acquire assets, mining leases and claim citizenship to the area. The situation is leading to change in local religious, ethnic and cultural demography and enabling the Pakistani citizens to claim their stake in region’s political matters. Senge Sering said that his party Gilgit-Baltistan National Congress will also raise this issue with the members of the American Congress. He also expressed his concern over the plight of the people of Hunza and Gojal, who have suffered due to the landslides, glacial outbursts and inundation of their villages in the last few months. He condemned Pakistani government for not reaching out to the local people to solve their issues. He said, ‘Pakistan is only interested in exploiting the natural resources, which lawfully belong to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. The locals are denied the right to own and earn income from the use of natural resources since Islamabad makes decisions on their behalf.’ In the end, both MEP and Senge Sering appealed to the representatives of the advocacy groups to support the cause of Gilgit-Baltistan and help others learn about this region.
SOURCE The Office of Ryszard Czarnecki – a Member of the European Parliament
Posted by Hisamullah Beg SI(M) at