Fri, 09 Jun 2023

Geneva [Switzerland], March 21 (ANI): A political activist from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir has criticized Pakistan for violating its own constitution by conducting a digital census in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit Baltistan.

Speaking to ANI during the 52nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Jamil Maqsood said a large number of people in these occupied regions are opposing the Census as it will diminish their identity and demography of the region.

Jamil who is the Central Secretary Foreign Affairs Committee of the United Kashmir People's National Party (UKPNP) said: "People are opposing because they are afraid of diminishing their local identity and their demography. Because in this process Pakistan wants to include all those Pakistani nationals and especially the people from Afghanistan who were living there temporarily without any local rights. Pakistan wants to include them into the local population, they want to include them as indigenous people of that region".

He said: "Both in Gilgit Baltistan and Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir, people are thinking that it (Census) will change the demography and after that they will lose everything, including incumbent political representation, they will lose their incumbent jobs and many other things. So, they are opposing and all the legal fraternities, political parties and UKPNP is challenging this policy at all constitutional and democratic forums, including UNHRC".

Several videos from PoK and Gilgit Baltistan have gone viral in recent days where people are resisting the Pakistani officials conducting digital census in these regions.

According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the 7th Population and Housing Census, being conducted digitally for the first time in the country's history will ensure transparency, data-driven procedures, real-time monitoring of progress through geo-tagging using GIS systems and wider acceptability of census results.

Jamil said, "Pakistan is brazenly lying; they are whitewashing international opinion. They want to feed very fake narratives, fake information and everything fabricated. Practically once things are done, so you cannot stop them, so we are in the process to stop them to all the mechanisms, political and constitutional and human rights mechanism".

The political activist said that both Pakistan and China are exploiting the resources of occupied territories.

China has heavily invested in Gilgit Baltistan as its multi-billion-dollar project, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through the region and the construction of projects are ongoing in the highly sensitive area.

Jamil said that China is trying to open its consulates in the Skardu and Hunza areas of Gilgit Baltistan.

He said, "Chinese government has no locus standi into the case of Jammu and Kashmir. So, opening such diplomatic offices in disputed land itself is violation of international law, it is the violation of UN Security Council resolution on Jammu and Kashmir".

"Both peripheries which are under the occupation of Pakistan - Gilgit and Muzaffarabad administration, China want to get involved. I think it will aggravate the situation. International Community must take serious cognizance against China and they should ask them to stop such diplomatic installation in these areas", said the political activist.

Jamil said that there will be heavy resistance in Gilgit Baltistan against China if there will be expansion projects in the region.

"People are demonstrating because this is the most recent development, but still people will express their resentment, their anger, their anxiety against the involvement of any other country which is not the party to the dispute. Practically it is the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the Government of India which are the party and Pakistan who is occupying another big chunk of land become a party. So, China is not a party to the dispute, so people will ask them to remove their installation". (ANI)

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