US team`s visit to Gilgit-Baltistan unnerves Pak

The recent visit of a three-member delegation of the US Embassy officials based in Pakistan to Gilgit-Baltistan has unnerved the Pak establishment.

Updated: Jul 04, 2012, 14:09 PM IST

New Delhi: The recent visit of a three-member delegation of the US Embassy officials based in Pakistan to Gilgit-Baltistan has unnerved the Pakistan establishment.

Pakistan`s intelligence agencies have described it as a “secret movement” of foreign missions in the country.

But the people of the region consider this visit as an opportunity to present a factual picture on Gilgit-Baltistan to the outside world, reports Pakistan observer R C Ganjoo.

In his article that appears in the magazine Power Politics, Ganjoo reveals that the American delegation that visited Gilgit-Baltistan included Lisa Buzenos, political/economic Officer, Kimberly Phelan, political officer, and Khalid Javed, security advisor.

He quotes Senge H Sering, president of Institute for Gilgit Baltistan Studies in Washington, as saying that there is really nothing to be alarmed about such a visit taking place.

Sering is quoted, as saying: “Embassy staffs of all nations visit parts of the country in which they are stationed. It is very natural and part of the fact- finding process. GB (Gilgit-Baltistan) visit was a business as usual for the US embassy staff. They met people from political spectrums, those who desire to remain with Pakistan and also those who desire the right of self determination as prescribed by the UNO resolutions.”

He said this could help Washington formulate a balanced view on the Kashmir and GB issues.

Ganjoo further quotes Manzoor Parwana, chairman of Gilgit-Baltistan United Movement (GBUM), as saying: “Pakistan should realize that Gilgit-Baltistan is an undeclared disputed area and technically not a part of Pakistan. Therefore, the native political workers have the right to establish direct links with the international community including the officials of the US Embassy.”

Parwana, according to Ganjoo, further urges the US delegation to support the right of self-determination for the Gilgit- Baltistan region.

He emphatically states that regimes in Pakistan have created sectarian and racial conflicts to maintain status quo and weaken the masses.

He said that despite linguistic and religious differences people have co-existed peacefully for centuries.

He accuses Pakistan’s agencies of having engineered demographic change and ethnic and religious genocide that has brought irreparable damage to local social fabric.

Other nationalist leaders who briefed the delegation said the conspiracies are on making the region a scapegoat of Pakistan-China friendship.

“Despite the friendship between Islamabad and Beijing, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan will never accept the policy of the two countries to strengthen their relations at the cost of the interest of the two million people of Gilgit-Baltistan,” Ganjoo quotes Parwana as saying.

Ganjoo’s article suggests that Pakistani secret service agencies and bureaucrats are involved in divide and rule game plan to sustain their presence in the region.