March 16, 2012
Protect the people of Gilgit-Baltistan: Demand protestors at UN Building in NYC
The natives of Gilgit-Baltistan residing in the United States held a demonstration outside the United Nations building in New York City on March 16, demanding end to atrocities against the Shias of Gilgit-Baltistan. Gilgit-Baltistan is a UN declared disputed area under Pakistani control.
Present among the protestors were members of Gilgit Baltistan National Congress including the president, Imtiaz Hussain, and director, Muhammad Sabir, who urged the United Nations to provide security for the Shias, Ismailis and Nurbakhshis of Gilgit-Baltistan who face religious oppression. The protestors urged the United Nations to play its due role in restoring genuine autonomy in Gilgit-Baltistan since Pakistan lacks constitutional capacity to ensure fundamental rights and protection to the natives of the region. The protestors also demanded protection to local languages and cultural identities.
Imtiaz Hussain also handed letter of protest to the UN officials and demanded that Pakistan must:
1- Reinstate State Subject Rule in Gilgit-Baltistan to protect local ethnic, linguistic, religious and cultural demography
2- Resume trade and travel over Astore-Srinagar, Chorbat-Nubra, Sham-Skardo, Drass-Gultari and Kharmang-Kargil roads to ensure freedom of travel, safety and movement as prescribed in the UN charter on human rights
3- Withdraw paramilitary from urban areas of Gilgit-Baltistan
4- Return control over natural resources and trade routes to the local political institutions based in Gilgit
5- Remove all militant hide outs and launch pads from Gilgit-Baltistan
6- Arrest and prosecute all militants and military personnel involved in Shia killings especially relating to the massacres of 1988, 2004 and 2005
7- Pakistan must adapt to policies ensuring protection and development to local languages and religions
8- Interference from Islamabad-led Gilgit-Baltistan Council (GBC) and Ministry of Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs (KGBA) must end to ensure genuine autonomy and self-rule in Gilgit-Baltistan.