"Gilgit Baltistan cannot end rights abuses without the help of the international community. The US must continue to be a beacon of light for the democratic spirit, to demand an end to colonial rule and support Gilgit-Baltistan in its struggle for a free nation," Senge Sering of the Washington- based Institute of Gilgit-Baltistan told lawmakers during a recent event at the Capitol Hill.
    
At an event organised by Senator Tim Kaine to mark Vietnam Human Rights Day last week, Sering said the UN Security Council resolution 47 declares Pakistan an occupier and aggressor in Gilgit Baltistan and calls for its withdrawal.
    
The event was addressed by several top American lawmakers including Senators John Cornyn, John McCain, Kaine and Mark Warner and House of Representative members Barbara Comstock, Gerry Connolly, Sheila Jackson Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Alan Lowenthal, Chris Smith and Leslie Byrne.

"People of the Gilgit-Baltistan demand accountability and transparency by Pakistanis and Chinese actors who exploit the region's mineral and water resources without ensuring local economic development or revenue share," Sering said.

The international community must question the Chinese multinational corporations who are building a multi-billion dollar economic corridor in an area without a constitutional framework, or a mechanism to hold government accountable under rule of law and where the people face suppression for demanding basic rights, he said.
    
"Further, the military and intelligence agencies have seized thousands of acres of private land in Gilgit Baltistan for military use. These practices are a direct violation of UNSC resolutions and have resulted in the displacement of locals and a state sanctioned demographic change," Sering said.

 

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