Astore (POGB) residents threaten Muzaffarabad style agitation over Pakistan’s land grabbing

Land grabbing at Gilgit-Baltistan ( Photo: News Intervention)

The people of Ashtore district in Pakistan-occupied Gilgit Baltistan (POGB) have issued a stern warning to the Pakistani establishment and occupying government against land grabbing under the guise of tourism. They have threatened to launch a mass protest akin to the recent demonstrations in Muzaffarabad, POJK, if their concerns are ignored.

Leaders of the Daskhiram Deosai Supreme Council, related to Deosai National Park, held a press conference at the Gilgit Press Club on Wednesday (May 15), drawing attention to the ongoing issue of land grabbing under the pretext of tourism development.

One of the leaders pointed out the legal vacuum in the region, stating that POGB lacks its own constitution, and the Pakistani constitution does not apply there. “The whole region is being ruled based on orders from Islamabad,” he said.

POGB deprived of its 80 per cent share

He further criticized the land grabbing practices, noting that 80% of the revenue from these tourist projects should have been allocated to POGB but has not been distributed. Despite a complete ban on the lease system, powerful individuals, including those from the Pakistan Army and the Pakistani establishment, continue to confiscate POGB land.

Hence, the leaders issued a warning that these actions must stop immediately, or they will initiate a mass protest against these policies. They also demanded that any tenders should be issued by the Daskhiram Deosai Supreme Council and follow proper procedures. They expressed frustration that the council is being bypassed, with Islamabad and the occupying government acting unilaterally.

This warning comes just days after various lands were allocated to the Pakistan Army by the occupying government.

Land grabbing by Pak Army

In an order passed by the Secretary of Tourism, Sports and Culture, Youth Affairs Department of the occupying government recently, as many as 20 rest houses and 16 forest nurseries of POGB are handed over to Pakistan Army. But Pak Army uses these land with an intention of penetrating deeply into the region and controlling the people.

Order of Renting houses and nurseries’ land to Pak Army (Photo: X)

The move is a larger conspiracy to instigate changes in the region’s demography and culture by installing people of Pakistani origin into the leased land while gradually making the native population minority.

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