By Amjad Ayub Mirza
New Delhi, Jul 8 (IANS): Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (PoGB) have been victims of the worst kind of theft in their entire history.
Never before were they denied the right to choose their way of life and never before were they deprived of their natural resources, rivers and forests. Since October 22, 1947 when the Pakistan army along with the tribals of north western Pakistan attacked our land, our right to freely express our religious, political and cultural views have been ruthlessly curtailed.
In PoGB the Anti-Terrorism Act commonly referred to as ATA was introduced under Schedule four under which any individual who disapproved of the two-nation theory of Muhammed Ali Jinnah, who was responsible to partition India into Bharat and Pakistan, is booked immediately. In PoJK, a similar law, crushing human rights was imposed in 1974 under the guise of an interim constitution commonly referred to as Act 74. According to this legislation, people of this occupied territory have been denied the right to dissent.
Besides, Pakistan has been engaged in systematic plunder. Large swathes of forests in PoJK have been cut down by the Pakistan military in collaboration with the local timber mafia and transporters, robbing us of Rs 51.84 billion each year. According to one estimate forest wood worth Rs. 480 billion has been stolen by Pakistan so far.
Flowers worth Rs 3 billion are looted by Pakistan annually. This does not include the herbs and roots of plants that Pakistan steals form us for medicinal purposes. According to research scholar Shabbir Chaudhary, Pakistani corporations earn approximately Rs one billion rupees from herbs and roots of plants that are looted by Pakistan. Bellies of our mountains from Neelum to Muzaffarabad and Hunza have been brutally cut open to plunder precious stones and minerals by the Pakistan army. From minor minerals such as gravel and sand to major minerals like marble, coal, gypsum, graphite and Bauxite to metallic minerals like iron ore lead, zinc, silver and copper to non-metallic minerals like soap.
According to figures obtained from Shabir Chaudhary, stone and limonite, to precious stones such as ruby, diamond, emerald and garnet are being stolen without impunity. Our women are kidnapped by the army personnel on a daily basis to quench the thirst of the local military commanders of the Pakistan army stationed at ‘sensitive’ locations. Heroes like Arif Shahid, Syed Haider Shah Rizvi and Ghulam Abbas are poisoned and shot on their door steps for raising their voice against human rights abuses that we incur in the aforementioned occupied territories.
Yet, it is India that is portrayed as an evil and enemy of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The truth is that if it was not for Indian soldiers who bravely fought, pushed back and eventually defeated the Pakistani invading armies in 1947, the fate that we are enduring in PoJK and PoGB today, would have also doomed the people from Srinagar, Rajauri, Baramulla and Uri to Leh and Kargil. The UN resolutions based on the reports of the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) declared Pakistan and not India, which was an aggressor in the first war between India and Pakistan.
The resolution demands that Pakistan withdraw its men in uniform and all aliens from our territories. Pakistan has not only defied to act, but on the contrary, it has systematically increased its military presence ever since. Currently it has up to 12 army brigades stationed in PoJK. Pakistan never let go of an opportunity to continue adding to its security forces in our lands. Most recently Pakistan federal government sanctioned a further deployment of Punjab police and Rangers in the guise of providing assistance during the general elections due on July 25. An extra force comprising 40 platoons of Pakistan army’s para military wing the FC and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have also been ordered to move into PoJK to provide security at the polling stations.
The list of atrocities, human rights abuses and lack of freedom of speech and the theft of our resources committed by Pakistan is too long to be included in this short piece.
However, my people are becoming aware of the development projects, the freedom of speech and respect for human rights that the people of the union territories of both Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh enjoy since the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35 A of the Indian constitution. The more my people become aware of the actuality of our reality, more forcefully will they reject the policy of systematic plunder which Pakistan has set in motion. The people of PoJK and PoGB have seen through the hollowness of the false narrative of the two nation theory and do not anymore buy the anti-India propaganda that Pakistani foreign minister and Prime minister so carelessly and ceaselessly spew.