Islamabad (PT): A statement of the President of Azad Jammu Kashmir, Sardar Yaqub, in which he claimed that Gilgit-Baltistan is an integral part of Kashmir has been condemned across the Gilgit-Baltistan region, with the exception of the Jamat-e-Islami, which has a very small vote bank in the region.
He made the statement yesterday while meeting an 18-member delegation.
People from all districts and different parties have advised Sardar Yaqub to ‘study history of the region in detail before making fallacious remarks about the region more than thrice the size of Azad Kashmir, home to 2.5 million people’, according to statements and reactions covered in the region media.
MLA Raziuddin Rizvi has said that Sardar Yaqub’s remark is baseless and unfounded. He said that the president has tried to disfigure and distort the region’s history. He has also condemned the statement and demanded restoration of State-Subject Rule (SSR) in the region, “to control external influence”.
MQM has termed the statement of Sardar Yaqub to be a figment of imagination.
Muhammad Ibrahim, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, has also condemned the statement saying Gilgit-Baltistan has a unique history spread over thousands of years. He has said that the Kashmiri leaders are responsible for the 62 years long deprivation of the constitution-less Gilgit-Baltistan region.
The statement of Sardar Yaqub has, however, been appreciated by the Jamat-e-Islami, GB Chapter. Leaders of the JI have hailed the statement and demanded formation of a single unit consisting of GB and Kashmir.
Prominent Shia scholar, Agha Rahat, has condemned the statement. He has said that the Kashmiri leaders have never spoken for the people of Gilgit-Baltistan during the last six decades but they come up with fake claims to sabotage the empowerment process of the people.
Dr Sher Bahadur Anjum of the PMLN has said that irrelevant people are trying to claim ownership of Gilgit-Baltistan. He has said in a press statement that the culture, civilization and language of GB is different from Kashmir.
Rana Nazeem, provincial spokesman of PPP, has termed the statement to be an effort to divide the region’s people. He has said that the delegation that met the AJK President have undermined the mandate given by the people of Gilgit-Baltistan to their elected representatives.
PPP legislators, Advocate Amjad Hussain and Engineer Ismail have also rejected the statement of Sardar Yaqub.
The statement of Sardar Yaqub also remained a target of youth groups and activists on different social media forums. Vast majority of the youth have condemned the statement, terming it a falsehood. A commentator on Facebook said that the President of Azad Kashmir is trying to disprove the one year-long war of independence fought by the local people against the Kashmiri-Dogra rulers who had occupied the region with the help of British colonizers.
Other commentators rejected the claim calling it a political gimmick and demanding formal annexation of the region in Pakistan, as the country’s fifth province.
Nationalists also condemned the statement, terming it a pack of lies and a mockery of historical facts.