Repeal of notorious accord demanded
ISLAMABAD: Nationalist parties in Gilgit-Baltistan have demanded that that black 1949 agreement of Karachi, under which the region was taken over by Pakistan without the consent of the indigenous people, should be repealed to give the people freedom to decide their future on their own.
In this regard, the Balawaristan National Student organization (BNSO) held a protest demonstration against the notorious April 28, 1949, Karachi agreement outside the national press club in Islamabad.
The protest demonstration was also attended by the activists of the BNYO and other nationalist parties of Gilgit-Baltistan. The participants of the rally were carrying placards, banners and chanting slogans against the so-called agreement under which Pakistan took over the administrative control of the region without taking the indigenous people into confidence.
Speaking on the occasion, Sher Nadir Shahi, a former president of the BNSO Rawalpindi/Islamabad zone, said the so-called leaders of Azad Kashmir, Sardar Ghulam Ababs, minister without portfolio Mushataq Ahmed Gurmani and Sardar Ibrahim entered into the illegal agreement with Pakistan though they had no right to represent the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. He said this was not an agreement but a big fraud and conspiracy and none of the parties of the agreement belonged to Gilgit-Baltistan. Under this illegal agreement, he added, Pakistan has been occupying the region for the last over six decades and its leaders are plundering the resources of the region. Mr Nadir said that the agreement had no legal standing but was imposed on the people in order to hoodwink the international community. He pointed out that the rulers of Pakistan and the so-called political leaders of Gilgi-Baltistan never tire of claiming that after gaining independence on Nov 1, 1947, our forefathers along with the Mir of Hunza-Nagar acceded to Pakistan. If we accept this claim that we did accede to Pakistan after independence then what was the need to ink this black agreement while sitting in a dark room in Karachi two years later in 1949? The BNSO leader called upon the youth of the region to understand the conspiracies hatched against the nation and work to create awareness of rights among the two million people of the region so that they can rise and fight for their rights.
Mohammad Ali Yar of Baltistan Student Federation said that the youth of the region were well aware of the black agreement and had already rejected it. He said that the agreement was illegal and had no legal standing as regard to the people of the region. He said that the leaders from AJK had no right to decide about the future of the region as the indigenous people could decide their destiny on their own.
Sajid Kashar and Tariq Aziz of the Progress Students Alliance said that not only the people of Gilgit-Baltistan but also the masses of Azad Kashmir condemned the black agreement as it had deprived the two million people of the region of their rights. They said that the Kashmiri leaders signed the agreement for their own vested interests. The so-called agreement divided the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and AJK and created hatred among them. Ghulam Ali of the BNY thanked the participants and said such rallies would be held in future too to create awareness among the people of the region.
In Lahore, the Balawaristan National Student Organization (BNSO) Lahore chapter’s president Afaq Balawar and secretary Raja Ahmed said the 1949 agreement of Karachi was the worst example of repression and oppression when Pakistan deceitfully inked the accord with three Kashmiri leaders in order to subjugate the two million people of Gilgit-Baltistan.
In their joint press statement, the BNSO leaders said the three Kashmir leaders illegally decided the fate of the two million people of Gilgit-Baltistan spreading over an area of 28,000 square miles. In fact, however, these three men had nothing to do with the people of Gilgit-Baltistan because they were even not the residents of the region. After partition of the subcontinent, there was no link of Gilgit-Baltistan with Kashmir. The head of the government of Azad Kashmir spreading over just 4,000 square miles had no authority to speak about the people living over 28,000 square miles. Besides, the political party of Ghulam Abbas, called Muslim Conference, had no existence in Gilgit-Baltistan. As the main party of the agreement ie the people of Gilgit-Baltistan had no representation in the agreement, it does not have any legal status and whatever actions have been taken by the successive governments of Pakistan based on this illegal agreement are illegal. Under article 8 of the agreement, the administration of Gilgit-Baltistan was handed over to Pakistan. Giving the region under the political agent appointed by Pakistan, the so-called Kashmiri leaders not only dissociate themselves from the region but also Pakistan violated the resolutions of the United Nations Commission on India and Pakistan which envisaged forming a representative government in the area till the resolution of its permanent status. On Aug 13, 1948, the UN had made it clear on Pakistan to withdraw its military from the region and ensure formation of a representative government there within seven weeks. By violating all these UN resolutions and its own commitment, Pakistan has still kept the region under its illegal control mainly because of the geo-strategic importance of the area.
Making the illegal agreement of 1949 as a basis, Pakistan has enslaved the two million people of Gilgit-Baltistan for the last over six decades and kept them deprived of the genuine rights. It is also a fact that there is no mention of Gilgit-Baltistan in the constitution of Pakistan and neither the two million people of the region have representation in Pakistan’s parliament. On different occasions, the supreme court of Pakistan has also refused to accept that Gilgit-Baltistan is a constitutional part of Pakistan. By including the leaders of Azad Kashmir Pakistan has also tried to give the impression that Gilgit-Baltistan was part of Kashmir. But the fact of the matter is that with the partition of the subcontinent the people of Gilgit-Baltistan got freedom from the then Dogra ruler of Kashmir and ended whatever links it had with the Dogra rule of the day. In order to get an upper hand in the plebiscite Pakistan then tried to link the region with Kashmir depriving the people of the region of their rights.