Pakistan using elections to legalize its grab of Gilgit, Baltistan

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The government of India has done well to lodge a complaint against the elections held in Gilgit, and Baltistan which are a part of the original Jammu and Kashmir state. India made it clear that this area is not Pakistan territory, and as such it had no legal right to hold elections, and project sovereignty over this area. Even the High Court of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir had held that Gilgit, and Baltistan are parts of Jammu and Kashmir state. The situation in these areas is quite bad as Pakistan government has wrecked all the democratic institutions, and suppressed the Shia population which have been turned into a minority.

What the Pakistani establishment has done is to change the entire demography of the region by ensuring the migration of Sunnis from NWFP to Gilgit and Baltistan. The original inhabitants of the area have been reduced to second class citizens with no say in government, police, administration and judiciary. All key jobs, and government posts in this region have been outsourced to Punjab, and other parts of the country while locals are left to protest, and hold demonstration against a government which is imperious, and does not care much about what they say.

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In the wake of this situation, the elections in Gilgit and Baltistan are nothing but a farce, and an attempt to hide the illegal occupation of this region. Through polls the government of Pakistan wants to strengthen it’s hold over the region which is part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. And this is being done by suppressing the nationalists, stifling dissent, and by killing the very ethos of democracy in the region.