Pakistan robs locals of Gilgit-Baltistan through the Land Reforms Act

land reforms act
A copy of the treacherous Land Reforms Act (Photo: News Intervention)

For the past one month, the most debated issue in Gilgit-Baltistan is on the Land Reforms Act to be brought by the Gilgit-Baltistan government.In the first phase, after a lot of discussion on this topic in the assembly and the bureaucracy, efforts are being made to take the stakeholders into confidence through the Assistant Commissioners.The crux is that the Islamabad government wants to seize the lands, mountains and minerals of the local people of Gilgit-Baltistan through this act.
In recent years, whenever there has been a massive public protest against the Khalsa government in Gilgit-Baltistan, the government changed the name of the law and tried to create a new law for the large-scale land acquisition. Public Action Committee and Nationalist parties have also started raising voice against this expected legislation.
Nationalist parties, legal experts and civil society said that Gilgit-Baltistan is a legal part of Jammu and Kashmir and Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory in the light of the Constitution of Pakistan, Pakistani court decisions and international laws and Pakistan has a transitional and supervisory status here. But Pakistan has no legal capacity to tamper with the demography of Gilgit-Baltistan.
It is argued that the state subject rule remained in place in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir until 2019. In Jammu and Kashmir administered by Pakistan, the state subject rule is still in place today. While in Gilgit-Baltistan, the Pakistani government started to disturb the state subject in 1954 and started settling the people brought from Pakistan inside Gilgit-Baltistan which affected the demography of that region. KPK’s Pathans took over the mineral business of Gilgit-Baltistan. Big businesses like Petrol Pumps, China Trade and Timber slipped from the hands of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan to Pakistanis.
Pakistanis from Gilgit-Baltistan got domicile and received education from professional institutions on the quota of local people of Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistanis started getting big government jobs instead of local people getting it.
Legal experts, nationalists and civil society are of the opinion that Pakistan wants to take possession of 20% of the lands of Gilgit-Baltistan through the proposed Land Reforms Act. However, this time this law has met with a lot of resistance from the local population.
The minerals of Gilgit-Baltistan are already owned by the Minerals Department of Pakistan and all the minerals are leased to non-local companies. Pakistan wants to take possession of about 20% of the people’s uninhabited lands once again.
The Pakistani Chief Secretary, Secretaries, Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners are also trying to make the Land Reforms Act law. Awami Action Committee Baltistan and Awami Action Committee Yaseem has strongly protested and refused to accept this black law, while the Hunza Kal Parties Conference, the youth of Constituency Three and the civil society of Ghazar have all rejected this initiative of the government and the people of Gilgit-Baltistan demand to stop the process of changing the demography of Gilgit-Baltistan by immediately restoring the rule of law otherwise there would be severe protest.
Nationalist parties and civil society have appealed to international organizations to stop Pakistan from bringing such black laws.

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