Protesters demand constitutional and economic rights for Gilgit-Baltistan

Skardu/Shigar/Gilgit: All Parties Awami Action Committee, an alliance of various political and religious groups and parties, staged protest demonstrations in Skardu, Ghigar and Gilgit. A large number of people gathered in Skardu to demand constitution, political and economic rights for the Gilgit-Baltistan region.

Speakers addressing the large gathering in Skardu said that Gilgit-Baltistan is being ignored in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. They said that no project has earmarked for GB as part of the mega economic corridor that passes through Hunza, Nagar, Gilgit and Diamer district of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Speaking at the occasion, religious and political groups censured the government for failing to give constitutional rights to the region. The speakers in Skardu said that they will continue their struggle for rights until the region’s constitutional status is determined.

Protest demonstrations were also held in Shigar district.

Speakers also opposed the imposition of federal taxes in the region. They demanded withdrawal of the taxes.

Maintenance and expansion of the Jaglote-Skardu road has emerged as a major bone of contention in the Baltistan region, where people feel cheated and deceived by successive governments. The opposition has continued despite of press conferences and statements by ministers of the GB cabinet, and the Chief Minister himself, who has repeatedly assured the public that the project has not been shelved.

In Gilgit cases were registered against five leaders of the Awami Action Committee for holding a procession without getting NOC from the district administration. The administration had, yesterday, turned down an application by the AAC members, citing law and order situation. The AAC leaders held the procession nevertheless today; hence the registration of cases for defying the ban.

Meanwhile, GB Parliamentary Secretary for Law Aurangzeb Khan has accused PPP and other groups of protesting over non-issues. He has said in a press statement today that the PPP was badly rejected in the elections, and that it is agitating purposelessly to stay relevant.

The Minister has also said that the PMLN has the Jagltoe-Skardu road as its top priority and that the project should not be politicized.

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