Gilgit Baltistan, The emergence of China, speech by Abbas Butt
House of Lords, 11 February 2011
On behalf of the Kashmir National Party [KNP], I would like to firstly thank Baroness Nicholson for arranging today’s event to help give KNP a voice and to mark the launch of our Report and Survey conducted in Gilgit and Baltistan and Pakistan Administered Kashmir. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome everyone to this event and express my gratitude for giving their time towards our cause.
I would like to thank Dr Shabir Choudhry for his hard work towards conducting this survey and many thanks to the whole of the KNP delegation for showing their support towards the survey. A special thanks to Mr Asim Mirza, Mr Shuaib Chaudhry and Mr Imtiaz Maqsood who took part in the thorny and complex journey to Gilgit.
It was a very long, tiring and not to mention dangerous twenty four hour non-stop journey from Islamabad to Gilgit. Being a keen traveller, I was always up to the challenge but this journey was certainly the most difficult I have ever undertook; with the state looking more like an army camp than an area of residence, with more fully loaded soldiers including Chinese soldiers more than actual civilians. The explanation for this I’m sure by the end of this debate will be very clear, if not already. However, we reached Gilgit and successfully conducting the survey and as you can see received very strange results.
These strange results are due to Pakistan’s foreign policy towards Kashmir. I hope the eyes of the people from Jammu and Kashmir including Gilgit and Baltistan have been opened and they can now see very clearly that Pakistan is not sincere towards regaining our nation of Kashmir their freedom, they are only sincere in their desperate aim of conquering our land.
The stance law and order holds in Pakistan and the economic crisis they are suffering from at the moment also pays a negative effect on them. Nothing is safe in Pakistan, or should we say no one is safe in Pakistan, even Pakistanis themselves are attempting to leave their motherland only to provide their families with a safe and secure future then why should anyone else be expected to meet with a government who run such a misfortunate country?
Any foreigner is free to enter Pakistan and brutally murder a Pakistani on the grounds of their own land and no justice is sought, beyond this, for the greed of a few dollars Pakistanis themselves are prepared to hand over the heads of their own people to a foreign power. Ministers of Pakistan themselves have predicted nothing more than bankruptcy and civil war in Pakistan.
If any Kashmiri still finds it a good idea to plebiscite with Pakistan then I only have one thing to say; either they hold a private interest in this matter or they lack sense. Our aim whilst travelling through the treacherous hills of Gilgit, risking our lives at every point was only to highlight the reality of the wishes of the people of Gilgit.
Finally I would like to state that our book called, ‘Another round of the Great Game’, from which the report and survey we are launching today has been lifted is still in printing process and should InshAllah be complete by March and then we shall launch our ‘book’ in Geneva on our trip to the UN, Human Rights Commission.
Due to shortage of time I am unable to speak on the specific topic this debate is held on but present here we have great academics that will provide you with their expert knowledge on the topic. If there is still any confusion left on the matter then we will be more than willing to answer any queries in the question and answer time.
Writer is Chairman of Kashmir National Party