Gilgit Baltistan National Congress hold event in Baltimore, Maryland
On May 4, 2013, Gilgit Baltistan National Congress held an event in Baltimore, Maryland. Senge Sering, Director of Gilgit Baltistan National Congress, moderated the event. Abdul Hamid Khan, Chairperson of Balawaristan National Front, gave the keynote speech. Other speakers included Sardar Ishak Sharif and Sardar Zahoor Khan. Speakers discussed the impact of Pakistan’s ongoing electoral process, cross-border trade, and Shia killings on the disputed region of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Abdul Hamid Khan talked about the role of Balawaristan National Front in promoting political, socio-economic and environmental rights of Gilgit-Baltistan. He shed light on the growing extremism and militant activity in the region, and denial of constitutional rights to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. He said, “The land of Gilgit-Baltistan could be disputed but the humans who are its citizens deserve basic rights.” He asked both Indian and Pakistani governments to resume travel over Astore-Srinagar, Kargil-Skardo, Chorbat-Nubra, Ishkoman-Badakhshan and Drass-Gultari roads.
Sardar Ishak Sharif expressed his support to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan in the struggle for their rights. He condemned on-going human rights violations and attack on political activists in both Pakistan controlled Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. He asked the government of Pakistan to restore State Subject Rule in Gilgit-Baltistan and end attacks on the Shias of the region. He criticized the authorities in Pakistani Kashmir for their involvement in the gang rape and torture of a teenage student, who is now forced to go in hiding and withdraw the rape case against the government officials.
Sardar Zahoor, Chairperson of Kashmir American Welfare Society of Maryland, reiterated his support for the on-going democratization process in Gilgit-Baltistan. He stated that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan have an exclusive right to govern their land and decide about their political future, and no one should try to dictate them in this regard. He asked the government of Pakistan to grant political rights and genuine autonomy to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan until the solution of the Kashmir dispute. In the end, Senge Sering thanked the participants for their support to the activities of Gilgit Baltistan National Congress