Rawalpindi, May 3 : A students' body of Pakistan's Gilgit-Baltistan region participated in a major demonstration here recently to highlight their opposition to the controversial "Karachi Agreement" of April 28, 1949.
Claiming that the agreement had led to the illegal handing over of the Gilgit-Baltistan region to Pakistan till Kashmir dispute with India was resolved, representatives of the Balawaistan National Students' Organisation (BNSO) said the pact was primarily responsible for the political and socio-economical problems that Gilgit and Baltistan were facing almost 60 years on.
Terming April 28 as a "Black Day", BNSO leaders Shujaat Ali Engineer, Zafar Iqbal and Tufail Dogar, besides key representatives of the All Parties National Alliance (APNA) and the Jammu Kashmir National Awami Party (JKNAP) appealed to the Government of Pakistan to have the "unilateral and unconstitutional" agreement annulled or declared void ab initio (invalid from the outset).
The event was also used to highlight the alleged excesses of the Pakistan Government in Gilgit and Baltistan during the past 60 years.
They urged authorities in Islamabad to restore all human, constitutional, political, economical and social rights of the people of these two deprived and underdeveloped regions.
They said that the people of Gilgit and Baltistan would not accept the hegemony of any outsider any more.
At the end of the meeting, the following six resolutions were passed:
1.To end to corruption in Karakoram University
2.To provide merit-based employment to the educated youth of Gilgit and Baltistan
3.To teach and promote all languages of Gilgit and Baltistan to ensure protection of the egion's distinct identity
4.To protect the culture and civilisation of Gilgit and Baltistan
5.To terminate the construction of the controversial Bhasha Dam. If it is to be constructed, it should be renamed as the Daimer Dam and
6.To ensure full statehood status of Gilgit and Baltistan till the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.
Spanning an area of approximately 72,496 square kilometres, the present-day Northern Areas in Pakistan, or what is traditionally known as the Gilgit-Baltistan region, is an area that has historically been of pivotal strategic importance, and so remains.
This is the ancient 'axis of Asia', where South, Central and East Asia converge. Gilgit-Baltistan was traditionally both India's and China's gateway to Central Asia and beyond, into the heart of Europe.
The Karachi Agreement of April 28, 1949, purportedly signed between the Pakistan Government and the 'President' of 'Azad Kashmir', Sardar M. Ibrahim Khan, and President of the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference, Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas, ratified the administrative control of Pakistan over these areas.
Pakistan also reportedly received letters of accession from the Mirs (local rulers) of Nagar and Hunza. These letters, however, do not hold any merit as the Rajas of Nagar and Hunza had no power of accession since the entire State of Jammu and Kashmir reverted to Maharaja Hari Singh after the departure of the British.
Critics of the agreement have charged Pakistan with suppressing these letters of accession, because it sought to bring the whole State under dispute before the United Nations (UN).