Kashmir: Protests in Gilgit Baltistan PaK rage over myriad issues

Jammu & Kashmir POK - Pakistan Occupied Kashmir

Gilgit-Baltistan: The locals and traders of Gilgit Baltistan (GB) in Pakistani adminstrated Kashmir (PaK) are holding protests against heavy taxation laws, illegal land occupation, and load shedding imposed by the regime in the province, Pakistan’s vernacular media outlet Baad-e-Shimal reported.

The locals have raised concerns over the re-imposition of Gilgit Baltistan Revenue Tax 2022, which was earlier revoked after several discussions between the people and authorities, the report said.

A report from Pakistan’s vernacular media outlet Baad-e-Shimal highlighted protests over load shedding, flour crisis and ownership of Khalsa Sarkar land.

These protests over concerns raised by the Baltistan residents have been intensifying with each passing day, the report said, adding that Pakistan’s military establishment continues to exert coercive claims over the land and resources of the area.

Before this, local traders and members of various political and social organisations observed a shutters’-down strike on December 28 in different parts of Gilgit-Baltistan, with markets closed and vehicles off the roads. Most of these demonstrations were held in Skardu, Gilgit, Hunza and Ghizer

Pakistan has been openly misusing the ‘Khalsa Sarkar’ laws for land-grabbing in GB, the report claimed, adding that the law states that the federal government could claim ‘ownership of barren or uncultivated land’ in GB, even if it was collectively owned by the local community.

The Pamir Times tweeted on December 30 tweeted, “Massive protest demonstrations held in different parts of #Gilgit-#Baltistan yesterday against the “Khalsa Sarkar” colonial law, imposition of taxes and the wheat and power crisis.”

The chairman of National Equality Party Jammu Kashmir Gilgit Baltistan and Ladakh (NEP JKGBL) said, “Ppl of #GilgitBaltistan protest for the 8th consecutive day at Yaadgaar #Skardu against #Pakistan on the issues of illegal land occupation, cutting subsidies, increasing electricity prices, black laws & imposing unfair taxes. #Pakistani govt & media have closed their eyes & ears.”

According to a fact-finding report by Human Rights Commission of Pakistan last year, the Khalsa Sarkar system violated international human rights standards, including the ‘UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’, which protects indigenous peoples’ “rights to their collective bio-cultural heritage as a whole, including traditional knowledge and resources, territories, and cultural and spiritual values and customary laws.” __(ANI)