• Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Response to Alok Bansal’s book “Gilgit Baltistan and its saga of unending human rights violations”

Discussion in 'Social & Current Events' started by Kabira, Sep 18, 2019.

  1. Kabira


    Jul 12, 2014
    +12 / 12,367 / -28
    India has still not accepted Pakistan’s existence since its foreign and military policies are Pakistan centric and always busy hatching new conspiracies to damage Pakistan.

    India saw three wars with Pakistan, which were followed by armed conflicts at Siachen (GB) and Kargil (GB). Indian electronic and print media also focus on Pakistan through the use of hybrid war to weaken it internally. Hybrid warfare is a military strategy that employs political, conventional, irregular and cyber warfare to build a narrative to destabilise a country.

    The book, “Gilgit Baltistan and its saga of unending human rights violations,” authored by Captain Alok Bansal, a retired Indian navy officer, is a deliberate attempt to murder the historical facts. It is void of context and understanding. The book lacks credible and authentic sources and relies on hearsay. The book promotes hostile propaganda, which seems to be the order of the day, given its contents and launch ceremony. The book launch was attended by people like Lt Gen (retd) Ata Hasnain, Sajjad Lone, Professor Riaz Punjabi, Ambassador Phunchok Stobdun and Rajar Arya.

    The writer alleged that Gilgit Baltistan was annexed by Pakistan and was an integral part of India. His historical perspective is distorted and imaginary as he surely lacks knowledge of this region and its people. Here is a brief review of the historical facts of Gilgit Baltistan. Amid the infighting for the throne of Gilgit, a brother of ousted Raja of Gilgit went to Kashmir to seek assistance from Sikhs. This was the movement that changed/reshaped the history of Gilgit, thereby, allowing a new force of Sikhs in Gilgit. In 1842, Colonel Nathu Shah, on the direction of Lahore Darbar, attacked Gilgit. In 1848, the ruler of Yasin attacked Gilgit and destroyed the Sikh forces. As a result, further reinforcement came under Bhoop Singh and this force was also crushed by the ruler of Yasin.

    In the case of Baltistan, Muhammad Shah from the Raja family also sought the support of Sikhs in his fight for the throne of Skardu. It was again struggling for power, which led to the occupation of Skardu by Sikhs. On March 18, 1846, Kashmir was sold to Gulab Singh for 75 lac Nanakshahi, and a treaty was signed, which created a new princely state of Kashmir. According to Article one of the treaty, all the hilly and mountainous countryside with its dependencies situated to the eastward of the river Indus and westward to the river Ravi were transferred to Gulab Singh. The boundaries were never demarcated as was confirmed by R C Kak, Kashmir Chief Secretary in March 1939 that no commission was ever appointed and there was a confusion of wording in the article.

    Areas including Gilgit, Chilas, Hunza, Nagar and Yasin were never given to Gulab Singh. Chilas is located south and Astor was the only area under the protection but not a part of Kashmir.

    It was only after the death of Raja Gohar Aman, ruler of Yasin, some local rajas, who were fugitives in Jammu, returned to Gilgit with Dogra army.

    This was the opportunity for the Dogra army to take revenge from Yasin. Accordingly, 2000 people were killed, Yasin was burnt and plundered. For the first time, Wazir Wazarat was appointed in Gilgit and Skardu.

    Gilgit Agency was established by the British government in 1877, and Major John Biddulph was posted to Gilgit as OSD.

    The agency was abolished in 1881 and reestablished in 1889 and Colonel Algernon Durand was appointed as a political agent. He was responsible for the frontiers and external relations with a neighbouring state. No movement of troops was to be carried out without the sanction of the political agent. The political agent responded to a British resident in Srinagar, and the influence of Maharaja was eliminated. By 1901, the political agent succeeded in establishing a firm grip over the agency and a ruling was issued that Hunza and Nagar, though under the suzerainty of Kashmir, formed no part of Maharaja’s territory. The state of Hunza also recognised the suzerainty of China and paid a nominal tribute. In 1926, in a letter to British resident in Kashmir, the British political agent Gordon Loch wrote as a matter of practical convenience the agency was attached at that time (1889) to the state of Kashmir.

    This practically remained under British control and authority. In 1928, the position of these areas was further clarified in a letter from a resident of Kashmir to Director Frontier Circles, Survey of India that territory comprised of Gilgit agency falls into three categories. One is state territory i.e. Gilgit Wazarat, which comprises of Gilgit tehsil (including Bunji) with its Niabat of Astor, the political districts of Nagar, Hunza, Punial, Yasin, Ishkoman and the republic of Chilas. The third was un-demarcated areas of Darel, Tangir, Kandia, Jhalkot, Sazin, Shattial and Harban. It was also mentioned in the gazette that these areas acknowledge the suzerainty of Kashmir but form no part of its territory and only pay tribute to maharaja annually. On March 20, 1935, the British decided to take Gilgit wazarat on lease from Maharaja for 60 years and an agreement was signed.

    The lease agreement was only for Gilgit wazarat but later British started referring this as Gilgit subdivision which included the areas of Gilgit agency and Gilgit wazarat. The whole area was handed over to Maharaja a fortnight before partition. Brigadier Ghansara Singh was appointed as Dogra Governor of Gilgit. Whereas on the ground all the Rajas and people of Gilgit agency had already decided in favour of Pakistan. The people of Gilgit never accepted the authority of Brigadier Ghansara Singh. According to a plan, Gilgit Scouts surrounded the residence of the governor on October 31, 1947, and after an exchange of fire, he surrendered to scouts.

    On November 1, 1947, the Dogra flag was pulled down from the agency house, and Pakistan flag was raised. A special courier was dispatched to the government of Pakistan about the independence of Gilgit and taking over it. After the consolidation of gains at Gilgit and Bunji, the freedom fighters moved to liberate Skardu. A brigade led by brigadier Fuquir Singh was ambushed by the freedom fighters at Tharego in Skardu and 250 Indian soldiers were killed. In March 1948, ‘Z’ brigadier was dispatched from Srinagar and this contingent was also ambushed at Parkuta. On August 13, 1948, Colonel Thappa with his 250 soldiers surrendered at Skardu. On August 14, 1948, Dogra flag was replaced with Pakistan’s flag. The people of Gilgit Baltistan liberated their land without any external help by defeating a well equipped/trained regular army with no resources. The treaties of Lahore and Amritsar did not mention/find the exact limits on the areas east of the river Indus. The state of Hunza and Nagar were never treated as part of Jammu and Kashmir but under nominal/symbolic suzerainty of the Dogra ruler. Hunza and Nagar acceded to Pakistan and the instrument of accession signed by the Mirs of these state was accepted by Quaid-e-Azam.

    The governors of political districts decided to join Pakistan to honour the wishes of their people. The British considered Maharaja of Kashmir a suzerain power but not a sovereign power. Local rajas considered tribute as an exchange of gifts and compliments but their territory was never a state territory. Areas were captured/occupied by Kashmir forces against the wishes of the people and tribute imposed but that does not make them a part of Kashmir. The political agent from Pakistan arrived in Gilgit on November 16, 1947, following the request of people of Gilgit, not Kashmir. Through the UN resolution of number 80 of March 1950, both “Azad Kashmir” and “Northern Areas” (Gilgit and the former political districts plus Baltistan) were included within the terms of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

    According to Alastair Lamb through this resolution, the Nothern Areas had been thrown into a melting pot of Kashmir dispute. The author (Alok) has tired his level best to portray the complete absence of political rights in Gilgit Baltistan as people have no forum to express their views/voices. Right from independence different government introduced different reforms. In 1970 the region was declared a separate administrative unit under the name of “Northern Areas” and Northern Areas Consultative Council was formed. In 1974 Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) was abolished. In 1994 Gilgit Baltistan was reconstituted on the provincial line. The Northern Areas Council was renamed as Northern Areas Legislative Council. In 2007, Northern Areas Legislative Council was renamed Northern Areas Legislative Assembly with more powers. The major step was taken in 2009 when Gilgit Baltistan Empowerment and Self Governance Order was introduced, which gave Gilgit Baltistan a province like status and the areas were renamed Gilgit Baltistan. A new order 2018 was introduced in 2018 and the supreme court of Pakistan asked the government of Pakistan to review it.

    The author has tried his best to raise the so-called issue of sub-nationalism. For his information, the number of people in Gilgit Baltistan with sub-nationalism is not more than a couple of hundreds. Even people with sub-nationalism minds vote mainstream national political parties. In past, there have been several sub-nationalist parties with no following at all and the majority of them do not exist now. Those who exist have no following at all. The author did not mention the sub-nationalists being controlled and funded by RAW. In 2017, Inspector General Police (Gilgit Baltistan) confirmed the arrests of 12 sub-nationalists from Yasin Valley with a large cache of arms sponsored by RAW to sabotage CPEC. Police also uncovered rupees 300 million money trail paid by RAW to purchase weapons and property. The author has also referred to prime minister Modi’s speech from Red Fort in 2016 that people of Gilgit have thanked him for voicing for their rights and human rights violations (please name one person from Gilgit Baltistan). Gilgit Baltistan assembly condemned the controversial comments by Modi and passed a unanimous resolution against it.

    The Gilgit Baltistan assembly conveyed that the people of Gilgit Baltistan were real Pakistanis and will be with Pakistan. The author has also propagated the sectarian issue in the region and has counted incidents in chronological order with exuberance. All the sects lived in harmony and closely integrated, however, the incident in 1988 damaged the social fabric in the region. In the past RAW has been instrumental in exploiting sectarian issues because of its known history of turbulences. Those sub-nationalist arrested in 2017 from Yasin confirmed to police that they were planning to attack a Jammat Khana in Ghizer on the directions of RAW to trigger sectarian unrest in the region. There is also a misconception in the mind of the author as he has referred Gilgit and Chilas as “Dardistan.” The term was coined by Dr Leitner after his visit to the region in 1866. Some people in Kohistan valley were called “Dards” by their neighbours. The term was used by some Europeans and has no relevance with Gilgit and Chilas. There is no region known to locals as Dardistan. The author has also drawn a bleak picture of electronic and print media in the region that there are no daily newspaper, radio and TV stations.

    For his information, there are 16 daily local newspapers and four weekly papers published from Gilgit. There are two major radio stations in Gilgit and Skardu as well as many FM stations. There is also a PTV rebroadcasting station at Gilgit besides massive networks of cables/dish services. All national newspaper arrive in Gilgit and Skardu. He did not mention of Indian media which reports things never happened in Gilgit Baltistan. The Times of India portrayed a video (by-election rally) as an uprising against Pakistan. It was again Indian media which picked a shutter down strikes in Gilgit as against the presence of Pakistan army. In another video, Indian media claimed the people were protesting the atrocities of security forces in Gilgit Baltistan. Just like it happens in almost every other case, the video was found to be fake. Indian media is manufacturing lies in utter desperation as the author mentioned the presence of Chinese troops in Gilgit. On educational facilities, the author portrayed a disappointing situation. The overall youth literacy rate in Gilgit Baltistan stands at 88 per cent and male youth literacy 77 per cent. District Hunza has the highest–98 per cent– youth literacy rate. The author on behest of RAW tried his level best to tarnish the image of Pakistan and patriotic people of Gilgit Baltistan. The book as a whole is a fabrication as it is the product of malicious intent that they (RAW) are trying to sell to the world. The writer surely lacked knowledge of the region and people and the alleged human rights abuses in Gilgit Baltistan are a pack of lies.

    The author did not mention the separatist movements in northeast, India, Naxalites and Khalistan. The people of northeast India have been branded “outcastes” in the Hindu caste system. The region is most volatile, and insurgency affected place in India after Indian Occupied Kashmir. He did not mention Naxalite insurgency in 13 of 29 Indian states. The movement covers 40 per cent of Indian geographical area and influence over 92000 square kilometres of the area. Gilgit Baltistan legislative assembly condemned the book and passed a unanimous resolution against it. The people of Gilgit Baltistan will not fall prey to Indian conspiracies as they are well aware of the fake news/hybrid warfare and strategy behind such attempts. The people of Gilgit Baltistan are completely loyal to Pakistan and all of them willing to lay their lives for Pakistan. The people of Gilgit Baltistan were, are, will remain part of Pakistan. They are Pakistanis first, Pakistani last and always.

    The writer is a retired brigadier and currently commissioner of the Afghan Refugees Organisation, Balochistan
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  2. T|/|T


    Jun 2, 2019
    +0 / 1,760 / -0
    He can only make the already stupid gangus more stupid with this. If a country blames of human right violations, its very easy to find reality. Give access to UN human rights missions and they will produce a report.
    Now Pakistan regularly alllws UN missions to visit GB and azad kashmir, if there were gross human rights violations, it would have been exposed. On the other hand, indians never allow any UN missions in indian occupied kashmir, i wonder why???

    So this stupid gangu can utter all that crap for their dumb gangus and they will dance to it, but no one with few brain cells will accept it.