Protests in Gilgit Baltistan against illegal occupation by Pakistan

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BAGH (PoK), November 18: Activists from various parts of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) gathered in Bagh district and carried out a protest rally to demand an end to Pakistan’s ‘illegal’ and ‘forceful occupation.’
The protests were held as part of a two-day convention of the United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP).
Activists raised concerns over the construction of dams and other projects, which, they claim, are aimed at excluding indigenous people from local development.
UKPNP’s former central secretary of foreign affairs, Jamil Maqsood, said: “They (protesters) demand the government of Pakistan to stop construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam in Gilgit Baltistan and the violation of state subject rule in Gilgit Baltistan and some parts of Pakistan occupied Kashmir”.
He added, “The Party leadership also expressed their concern that the government of Pakistan is violating State Subject Rule in Rawalakot, Kotli, Bagh, Neelum, Muzaffarabad and other areas and allocating land to its retired army-men, bureaucrats and businessmen”.
UKPNP’s exiled chairman Sardar Shaukat Ali Kashmiri addressed the activists in Bagh via telephone and asked protestors to urge Pakistan to vacate the territory and establish local authority by reviving the fundamental rights of the indigenous people.
In an exclusive interview, Maqsood told ANI, “The activists demanded Pakistan to release all those activists languishing in the prisons, including Baba Jan, who was jailed for peacefully demanding local development and the empowerment of local people in Gilgit Baltistan and Muzaffarabad.”
The activists, during the protest, voiced their thoughts about serious environmental concerns in PoK and Gilgit Baltistan due to the construction of 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 of the 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,” Maqsood noted. (ANI)