Jenab Imran Khan Sahib
Prime Minister, Islamic Republic of Pakistan,
Assalam u Alaikum Warahmatullah
I take this opportunity to offer my good will and good faith to you. Representing the people of Jammu Kashmir (JK) and the incarcerated Chairman Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Muhammad Yasin Malik, who is languishing in Indian Jail for almost last two years now, I am writing to your good self because certain media reports, recent activities in Islamabad and statements emanating from some federal ministries indicate that your government is planning to change the status of Gilgit Baltistan (GB), a part of recognized disputed State of JK, and annex it as the 5th province of Pakistan.
Respected Prime Minister, the principled and stated position of Pakistan has been that the entire State of JK including GB is a disputed territory, and that it needs to be resolved in accordance with the relevant UNSC Resolutions. Pakistan as a party to Kashmir issue, has been a vocal supporter of right of self-determination of the people of JK and till now has been advocating vigorously for the achievement of this basic right to Kashmiris. Furthermore, echoing the cries of Kashmiris since 1947, Pakistan has been condemning all kinds of illegal and unilateral actions taken by India in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu Kashmir (IIOJK) that in any shape or form would compromise the demographic and the disputed nature of the State of JK. Pakistan’s position on Mr. Narendra Modi’s unilateral and illegitimate action of August 5, 2019 that not only annexed and bifurcated IIOJK but also eroded its national identity, is a glaring example in this regard.
Respected Prime Minister, the UNSC resolutions on Kashmir, the decisions of High Court and Supreme Court of AJK and the January, 2019 decision of Supreme Court of Pakistan, clearly state that GB is a part of the disputed State of Jammu Kashmir, and that its annexation by or integration into the federation of Pakistan is illegitimate.
Respected Prime Minister, the entire leadership of the disputed and divided State of JK, from across both the sides of ceasefire line (AJK Govt. including all political parties, and from IIOJK – APHC & JKLF) along with Kashmiri diaspora, consider GB’s proposed annexation as unacceptable. All Kashmiris unequivocally and unambiguously, have expressed their serious disquiet, and concerns on this matter. Hurriyat and Joint Resistance Leadership namely; Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, through a joint statement, and AJK leaders through a joint declaration in the All Party Conference (APC) held in Islamabad last year, have clearly and unanimously raised their voice against proposed GB’s annexation. In 2016, when same proposals were being discussed in Pakistan, incarcerated JKLF Chairman had written to the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, urging him to refrain from any such move as it can legitimate Indian unilateral actions in IIOJK. This is on record that on March 18, 2016 in response to Mr. Malik’s letter, the then Prime Minister assured the people of JK that Pakistan is fully aware of the sensitivities attached to GB with regard to the JK dispute, and that Pakistan will never compromise on its principled stand. Nor will Pakistan take any measure that may cause harm to the valiant struggle of the people of JK, for their inalienable right to self-determination, promised to them by the UN Security Council resolutions.
Respected Prime Minister, annexation of GB will unwittingly not only disturb the disputed nature of the State of Jammu Kashmir, but will also compromise Pakistan’s principled position on the JK issue. By doing so, Pakistan as compared to India will for sure lose its thus far high moral ground over the issue, and for Kashmiris across political spectrum, the act will be considered unfriendly akin to the unilateral action taken by Mr. Narendra Modi government on August 5, 2019 in IIOJK. It will certainly provide a justification to India’s unlawful action of 5th August 2019, and her erroneous claim of Jammu Kashmir being an ‘integral’ part of her federation or union.
Respected Prime Minister, in order to strengthen the national identity of the State of Jammu Kashmir and the popular freedom struggle, we suggest and strongly urge your Excellency to integrate both GB and AJK with each other so that people of the area are served in a representative and democratic structure of governance. We believe this move can prove to be an effective political and diplomatic counter to Indian aggression of 5th August, 2019.
Prime Minister Sahib, as already alluded to, the proposed annexation of GB with Pakistan will be considered as an act similar to that of the Indian decision of August 5, 2019; since both are in contravention and violation of the UNSC resolutions #91 of 1951 and, #122 & #126 of 1957. It is obvious that annexation of GB with Pakistan will further disintegrate the State, and will constitute a grave betrayal of the people of Jammu Kashmir who have sacrificed more than six hundred thousand lives for the sacred cause of freedom of their motherland since 1947, and continue to endure sufferings and hardships for the noble cause.
Prime Minister Sahib, if your government incorporates GB into Pakistan, and if as a consequence, India consolidates its hold in Kashmir, this would amount to a bartering of people’s aspirations. Kashmir is not about territory. It is about rights of people. Bartering these rights for land means killing the aspirations of people. While economic development attached to the region of GB is important for us all, there is however, no moral right to adopt, and pursue a policy that will adversely affect the future of millions of Kashmiris. We are fully aware of the fact that Pakistan is in a delicate phase of its history. Nevertheless, it should not mean that fundamental rights of not only people of GB, but the entire State of JK should be compromised and sacrificed.
Respected Prime Minister Sahib, we are not against the uplifting of the human rights situation nor against ending the deprivations of rights of our people in GB. We sincerely wish and pray for their prosperity, better development and success but in a more suitable and honorable way other than that of being annexed in to Pakistan which carries numerous consequences and fallouts, and pitfalls along with it.
The establishment of AJK like structure in GB is the best and more appropriate solution/s to elevate it and the system with their own President, Prime Minister and Supreme Court may provide enormous opportunities for people to prosper as citizens of the State of Jammu Kashmir. Furthermore, in order to overcome any constraints that may arise over CPEC, we strongly urge that the local government of GB be made a party to the ongoing project.
Respected Prime Minister, the will of people of Jammu Kashmir is what everyone including your good self knows. History, morality and ethics bears a witness that will of the people always triumphs. History also judges people in light of greatness and great accomplishments they make. So, we urge you to take an extended view of history and not short term interest because this action has its own devastating political and moral implications that would, for sure, hit the sentiments of the struggling people of JK. We appeal you to think of the legacy you will leave if you become party to depriving people of their historical, political and moral rights for which they have, and continue to give their lives. As said by Chairman JKLF, Yasin Malik ‘Bartering away territory for economic growth does not make you statesman”. Thus, resisting short term temptations and not bowing to economic pressures makes one a true statesman.
On behalf of the Chairman JKLF and the people of JK, I thank you Prime Minister Sahib in anticipation, and look forward for your sincere and statesmanship like decision on GB in line with, and in recognition of the unparalleled sacrifices of our valiant people in the freedom struggle.
Abdul Hameed Butt
Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).
Central Information Office JKLF
B-144, Chandni Chowk, Murree Road,
Satellite Town, Rawalpindi.