Gilgit-Baltistan protests ‘Indian secessionist propaganda’

Srinagar

Protests sparked in Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan denying allegations made by Indian media that their “shutter down strike” against new taxes was an “anti-state move,” Pakistan media reported on Tuesday.

Earlier, the local political party, Awami Action Committee (ACC) had held strikes against new taxes levied in the region. These strikes were apparently being portrayed as “anti-state protests” by the Indian media.

According to Pakistan Today report, leaders of the ACC delivered a number of fiery speeches to a charged crowd in which they said that their organisation and their strike was nowhere near to what the Indian media was portraying it as. The protest was staged on the call of the ACC and was attended by leaders of political parties and members of the civil society.

The protesters said they were inflamed over reports that Gilgit-Baltistan was demanding independence from Pakistan. In reality, the ACC along with regional trade unions had simply been conducting a shutter down strike against the imposition of government taxes ordered from the centre.

“The protesters, bearing pro-army and anti-India posters, claimed that the people of Gilgit were completely loyal to the state of Pakistan and all of them were willing to lay their life for the country’s sake. They said that this region had been honoured with the Nishan e Haider by Havildar Lalikl Jan and would not let his sacrifice ever be in vain,” the report said.

They said the struggle of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan were to integrate the region fully with Pakistan as a constitutional entity. They blamed India for increasing the problems of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan by creating unnecessary controversies. They regarded these fabricated stories as a reflection of the journalistic ethics in India.

“In the past, India has also portrayed election rallies, protests against terror attacks, protest demanding compensations and even protests of visually impaired persons as a separatist uprising against Pakistan,” the report said.

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