[News] Gilgit-Baltistan becomes fifth province, no relation with Kashmir: Chief Minister
December 27, 2009 2 Comments
ISLAMABAD : The newly elected Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Syed Mehdi Shah has said that Gilgit-Baltistan has become Pakistan’s fifth province and it has no relation with Kashmir whatsoever. “We have become Pakistan’s fifth province and (now) we have no connection with Kashmir,” the first CM of Gilgit-Baltistan Mehdi Shah was talking to INP in an exclusive interview on Thursday.
Shah said GB had been denied its basic rights during past 62 years and held Kashmiri leadership and Pakistani bureaucracy responsible for this. “We (GB) were sold in two words by Sardar Ibrahim Khan, (the founding President of Azad Kashmir) when Kashmir was given its current political status in 1970 in Karachi, and we had no say at all on the matter,” he said. Shah said the people of GB were tormented, tortured and suppressed, during the curfews of 90s when Kashmir was given an exception.
The demand for one of the two top slots in AJK setup for the people of GB was turned down by the Kashmiri leaders. “How can Kashmiri leaders claim they are sincere to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan?” “Now when people of Gilgit-Baltistan are given their rights, why it’s annoying some people,” he said to reservations expressed by some corners about the new status of the region. He said Kashmiri people have offered great sacrifices for Kashmir Cause, but Kashmiri leadership had never voiced for the rights of Gilgit-Baltistan.
He alleged that whenever an effort was made to give rights to the people of GB, the Kashmiri leadership had become an hurdle. Mehdi Shah said in fact people of Gilgit-Baltistan had decided their accession to Pakistan after getting freedom from Dogra rule and now the region has become fifth province of Pakistan. “This is beginning of the transfer of powers to Gilgit-Baltistan. Gradually, we will get other rights, the provinces of Pakistan are enjoying,” he vowed. He said, as far as the UN resolutions on Kashmir are concerned, the world body has not brought forward anything concrete, so that one can talk about. “It’s very simple, the way Indian sub-continent got freedom from British rule, we did from the Dogra rule,” he said. The forced occupation of Dogra rulers can not be converted into a geographical relations, he added The GB Chief Minister said nationalists and those linking GB to Kashmir have been rejected by the people in the election. “We consider Pakistani bureaucracy and Kashmiri leaders responsible for our 62-year deprivations.
He said there were some loopholes in the Gilgit-Baltistan package, but sooner or later, they will receive their due rights from the federation and become a regular fifth province of the country. INP