ISLAMABAD, Jan 10 Leaders of various political parties and other stakeholders from Azad Kashmir on the platform of the All Parties National Alliance (APNA) on Sunday termed the reforms package for Gilgit-Baltistan as insufficient and tantamount to “compromise on Kashmir”.
In a meeting held here at the National Press Club (NPC), the APNA, which included the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Jammu Kashmir People's National Party, Jammu Kashmir Liberation League and Jamaat-i-Islami, called upon the federal government to revisit the package.
Criticising the package, majority of the speakers said it was meant at “disintegrating Greater Kashmir”. They said the federal government had surrendered Kashmir cause by giving a “rubber stamp assembly” to Gilgit-Baltistan.
Prominent among the leaders were Majid Malik, Col (retired) Wajahat, Rafique Dar and Rashid Turabi. “Gilgit-Baltistan is part of Kashmir; therefore, the government gave autonomy to few districts instead of giving reform package to the whole Kashmir,” they said.
However, some speakers on the occasion said the package for region was a beginning towards materialising the cause of Kashmir and asked the people to trust the government.
“We must demonstrate patience in our ranks and trust the federal government to achieve big accomplishments. Gilgit-Baltistan is a first step towards empowerment of Kasmir,” Ali Ahmad Jan, an intellectual from Gilgit commented. He said people would foil any compromise on Kashmir, adding that the democratic government in Pakistan was answerable to the masses of the region.
They apprehended that a new taxation plan was ready for Gilgit-Baltistan and vowed to resist any such move as, they added, people of the area were exempted from taxes.
The meeting ended with a note that the federal government must extend its empowerment and reform programme to Azad Kashmir in order to put to an end to feelings of deprivation among its people.