After big rallies were held across Gilgit-Baltistan in protest against a recent statement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) unanimously adopted two resolutions condemning the “controversial” remarks.
The resolutions termed Modi an “extremist Hindu leader”.
One of the resolutions, tabled by GBLA Speaker Jaffarullah Khan, described the statement as “baseless” and said it was an attempt to divert the world’s attention from the “human rights violations being committed in Kashmir and the treatment being meted out to minorities in India”.
It said the people of Gilgit-Baltistan were “the real Pakistanis”. “We were with Pakistan and will be with Pakistan. We are proud to be Pakistanis.”
The resolution said the people of the region “would react strongly” if the Indian leader issued a similar statement in future.
The other resolution, tabled by GBLA member from the Islami Tehreek Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Haider, said that through his statement “Modi had tried to mislead the world”.
It said the people of the region “would foil any aggressive designs of India and thwart all its efforts to destabilise and dismember Pakistan”.
At some of the rallies held in protest against Modi’s statement, speakers urged Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to break his silence over the issue and come up with equally “hard-hitting remarks”.
The protests were organised by local and national parties and by civil society organisations.
In Gilgit, separate rallies were organised by the PML-N, PPP and the religio-political parties.
A large number of people, including students, attended a rally held by the PML-N in Gadibagh, Gilgit. Holding aloft banners and placards inscribed with slogans highlighting the “atrocities in Kashmir, the participants raised slogans against the Indian prime minister”.
Speaking on the occasion, GBLA Speaker Jaffarullah Khan termed Modi’s remarks about the region and its people “the biggest lie of the century”.
He said, “the Indian leader had hurt the sentiments of millions who loved Pakistan and who were ready to sacrifice their lives for the country.”
GBLA member from the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Raja Jahanzaib said the people of Gilgit-Baltistan were united in the defence of the country. “Such statements will never be accepted,” he said.
“After getting rid of the Dogra Raj, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan joined Pakistan of their own accord. So, we will always remain a part of the country.”
Jahanzaib also urged Prime Minister Sharif to come up with a hard-hitting rejoinder to Modi’s remarks.
Several processions were taken out in the area, which were later merged to create one big rally. Thousands of people participated in the event.
Speaking to the participants, religious scholars urged the international community to take notice of the “human rights violations in Kashmir”.
Speaking at one of the rallies, PPP leader Amjad Hussain said the people of Gilgit-Baltistan had “rejected” Indian rule back in 1947.
He also criticised Sharif over his silence on the matter.
In Skardu, a large number of people attended a rally which was organised after the Friday prayers.
People attending the demonstration “burnt an effigy of the Indian prime minister”.
Anti-Modi demonstrations were also held in Diamer, Ghanche, Ghizer, Astore, Hunza and Nagar.
Federal Minister Speaks
In a statement, federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Chaudhry Barjees Tahir urged the international community to take notice of Modi’s statement about Balochistan and Azad Kashmir, which he said was “tantamount to interfering in Pakistan’s affairs”.
He said the statement was a violation of the United Nations Charter and against diplomatic etiquettes.
(The news item first appeared in The Dawn with minor changes.)