Comment On “Gilgit-Baltistan and its Saga of Unending Human Rights Violations” by Capt/Prof Alok Bansal

NEW DELHI: In this timely and relevant Book/Interpretation, Prof. Alok Bansal offers a compelling and critical commentary on Pakistan’s foreign policy and human rights violations in the valley by Pakistan and its ISI. As you know that, Gilgit-Baltistan is constitutionally and legally an integral part of India, and it has enormous strategic significance too; it is the area that connects Pakistan with China and provides Pakistan with most of its fresh water resources or natural resources etc. Congratulations Capt/Prof Alok Bansal for another book release on “Gilgit – Baltistan and its Saga of Unending Human Rights Violations”, Trilok Singh.

Thus, The fact though remains that it is Pakistan and its agent which sends across terrorists to the region. The recent book namely, “Gilgit-Baltistan and its Saga of Unending Human Rights Violations” by Capt/Prof Alok Bansal is quite relevant with regard to understanding India’s Foreign Policy and its regional security concerns. Moreover, The title of book also reflects many things with regard to Strategic relevancy of the Gilgit-Baltistan, Linguistic and cultural Marginalisation, Declining of language in Baltistan, Crucial human rights violations by Pakistan and its ISI including state sponsored terrorism by Pakistan’s Army on the Backdrops of China’s Active Support via CPEC..Sectarian violence in Gilgit-Baltistan is an attempt by the Pakistani establishment to deny the local residents their legitimate rights by embroiling them in internecine war. Following the interpretation of Prof. Alok Bansal, Since the constitutional status of Gilgit-Baltistan has been kept in a limbo, making the region an extraordinary example of political and judicial ambivalence. The NALC was created in 1994, but remained a dysfunctional consultative forum, presided over by the Minister for Kashmir Affairs, without any substantive powers of legislation.

Author Argued that, The region is inhabited by ethnically distinct people of Turko-Mongoloid origin who have lived and practised Buddhism and Islam in a manner distinct from the rest of Pakistan. Ethnically, it can broadly be divided into two major regions namely, Dardistan and Baltistan. Dardistan is primarily inhabited by tribes speaking Dardic languages of Indo Aryan and Iranian origins. The major languages spoken in the region are linguistically quite distinct from all other languages spoken in Pakistan.

Importantly, country need to know about the historical trajectory of Baltistan under the British regime too to batter understand the same while you can say that, almost 90% of people don’t know What is Baltistan? Thus, The Author Indicates that, The causes of the violence are many and multi-layered, with some analysts terming it as a sectarian conflict, some as an artificially engineered one, some as due to a lack of political rights, while some believe that the violence is actually a consequence of Pakistan’s lack of an effective federal system of government.

A much careful and researched analysis of the human rights violence in the region indicates a deep-rooted alienation of the population and Pakistan’s involvements, which has got accentuated with time: Alok Bansal.

Despite all of this, he argued that the main cause behind the acts of violence in Gilgit and surrounding areas is the simmering discontent within the populace due to the absence of any genuine democratic and constitutional mechanism to resolve their problems. Notably, The region is also rich in natural resources and Pakistan is keen to prolong its control over the region with the intention of eventually incorporating this part of Jammu and Kashmir into its own territory.

The impoverished people of the region believe that their unique ethno-cultural identity is being threatened and the state has not taken any steps to promote and protect the unique culture and languages belonging to the different valleys of the region. As the number of people speaking different languages is rather small, the influx of outsiders threatens the very survival of these languages in the absence of suitable institutional support..




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