A Sheer Propoganda and Threats by KPK Government Over Strategic Land of Gilgit-Baltistan

 With 30 days left in the 40-day ceasefire brokered between opposing tribes of Kohistan and Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) over a disputed stretch of land, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), G-B and the central governments have still not resolved the matter.

On Monday, members of the Bhasha Dam Action Committee from Kohistan, comprising MPA Abdus Sattar Khan and 12 others, met Adviser to the K-P Chief Minister on Inter-Provincial Coordination Haji Abdul Haq Khan and urged the government to take solid measures to protect the Diamer-Bhasha Dam from further controversy.

During the meeting, Abdul Haq said in the larger interest of K-P, the committee announced by the provincial assembly should visit the disputed area before April 10 to assess the situation on ground.  He added a complete report should be submitted to the Boundary Commission so the row between the two sides can be resolved before the ceasefire ends.

“The G-B government should stop its illegal intervention in the eight kilometres of land which has been declared controversial by the K-P government,” said the CM’s adviser. He accused the G-B government of deliberately creating controversies about a strategic area and drawing the ire of K-P lawmakers.

Committee members said the G-B government and Appellate Court have termed the upper Kohistan area a disputed territory, which is dangerous for the state.

“The area includes the property of people from Thorak area of Diamer and Harban in Bhasha, however, it is clear in the official records of K-P, the Survey of Pakistan and Estate Notification of 1955 that the area falls under K-P’s jurisdiction and remains a part of Kohistan for administrative purposes,” said MPA Abdus Sattar Khan.

Sattar added that it is essential the state devise a joint strategy to tackle the issue. The MPA further said that Kohistan lawmakers, the K-P Assembly and district administration will not let anyone alter the provincial and district boundaries of K-P.

The ongoing dispute between Kohistan and G-B regarding the ownership of an eight-kilometre stretch of land took a violent turn in late February when armed clashes between both sides left at least seven people dead and dozens injured.

On February 28, the K-P Assembly reacted strongly to the tension between the two regions and formed a jirga comprising the home secretary, DIG Hazara and Kohsitan MPAs. This team was deputed to visit the area and submit a report to the K-P government by March 3.

Despite repeated attempts, Sattar and adviser to the CM Khan could not be reached to enquire about the status of the sought report.

The view from across the fence

Meanwhile, Sajadul Haq, spokesperson for G-B Chief Minister Mehdi Shah told The Express Tribune, “The K-P government is intervening in the territorial borders of G-B and we will not let that happen.”

He further said the people of G-B were not responsible for the clashes.  “The G-B home secretary has taken up the issue with the K-P government on the directives of CM Shah. It will be further discussed with the K-P and federal government once the G-B CM returns to the country,” said Haq.

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