Allotment of land to outsiders in N.As opposed

2 September 2008
The Dawn

Islamabad: An alliance of political organisations from Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit-Balitistan has expressed concerns over allotment of land in the Northern Areas to non-local people and companies by the government of Pakistan. In a statement issued here on Tuesday, the All Parties National Alliance (Apna) described as “violation of the State Subject Rules” the government’s move to allot land in the region to about 2,000 people and companies. The chairman of Apna, Mohammad Iqbal Advocate, said Gilgit-Baltistan, which the government called Northern Areas, has been kept deprived of all political, economic and constitutional rights for the last over 60 years. The same has been the case with Azad Kashmir. In the past, he added, these two regions remained under the Dogra rule. Therefore, it is necessary that nationalist and progressive political parties in both the regions should join hands and launch a peaceful struggle for attainment of the rights, he stressed. He said Apna was formed in the year 2001 with the objective to end militancy and terrorism in the region and launch a peaceful movement to resolve the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the wishes of the people. He demanded that the government should honour the resolutions of United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) under which Pakistan could not allot any land to non-local people or companies in Gilgit-Baltistan nor enter into agreements with other countries for any development project against the wishes of the local people. He said the government had recently signed a number of agreements with China for the extension of roads and trade without taking the local population into confidence.