Rome [Italy], February 3 (ANI): Islamabad's misrule in the illegally occupied areas of Pakistan occupied-Kashmir (PoK ), including Gilgit Baltistan, has reached a flashpoint with the local people, writes Italian Senator Luigi Compagna in Insideover.
Recently, Pakistan's economic downturn has also had a profound impact on the population of the region as the costs of essential foodstuffs have increased exponentially.
The shortage of grains has hit hard the people of the region who have taken to the streets to ask for essential foodstuffs. In Gilgit Baltistan people who have braved the sub-zero temperatures these winters have been protesting day and night over the lack of availability of staple food items such as wheat. Hunger is rampant and children and women are the worst sufferers, reported Insideover.
Pakistan rules the illegally occupied areas with an iron grip through the all-powerful council of Kashmir headed by the prime minister of Pakistan and treats the people of the region as second-rate citizens.
However, the governing structure is powerless and depends on the Pakistani establishment for the smallest matters. Even the courts are subordinate to the Supreme Court of Pakistan, said Compagna.
The duplicity in Pakistan's handling of the illegal occupation lies in the constitution drawn up for the PoK.
Article 1 of the Constitution, which lists the territories of Pakistan, also provides for "those states and territories which may be included or may be included in Pakistan, whether by accession or otherwise". Subsequently, Article 257 of the Constitution says, "When the people of the state of Jammu and Kashmir decide to join Pakistan, the relationship between Pakistan and the state shall be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people of that state."
But in blatant disregard for its own constitution, it also has an injunction against persons or political parties who propagate "against or engage in activities prejudicial to the ideology of state accession to Pakistan". Members of the Assembly can be disqualified for this, reported Insideover.
The Pakistani establishment has arbitrarily used this clause to silencet any dissenting voice, leading to massive discontent among the people, said Compagna.
The local government in the territory remains dysfunctional and powerless and this has led to informal structures which have increased social divisions and deprivation among the public.
Previously, local government elections were last held in 1991. Despite public demand and successive governments promising to hold local government elections, no elections were held. After 31 years elections were finally held recently on the order of the Supreme Court.
However, the dismissal or removal of the elected head of government of PoK through political manipulation has been a common occurrence in the region, reported Insideover.
Recently the entire PoK erupted in riots after the Pakistani government decided to further weaken the identity of the people by introducing the 15th amendment to the constitution.
The proposed amendment showed that the terms "State" will be replaced and the mention of the United Nations will be replaced with the words " subject to recognition " from the so-called PoK provisional constitution of 1974.
Moreover, all financial powers will be transferred from the PoK government to Pakistan, thus practically demoting the PoK to the level of a provincial entity. This will be the Pakistani government's 24th attempt to determine the constitutional status of the region in the past 75 years, said Compagna.
Notably, every year on February 5, Pakistan celebrates Kashmiri Solidarity Day as a propaganda tool against the Indian state.
As people in Pakistani illegally occupied Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan suffer for basic human and political rights, it is imperative that the world takes note of the Pakistani atrocities committed against them and celebrates Kashmir Solidarity Day for the people of Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan who have lived under the brutal occupation of Pakistan, said Compagna. (ANI)