Protesters have taken to the streets in the Pakistan-occupied Gilgit-Baltistan region, a separate administrative unit in the northernmost administrative territory of Pakistan, against a crackdown by Pakistani security forces that saw incarceration of over 500 young Gilgit residents.
Angry protesters said these young men were imprisoned for demanding political rights and asking the Pakistani Army to leave Gilgit’s soil. Raising ‘anti-Pakistan’ slogans, angry protesters took to the streets in Gilgit town, Astore, Diamer and Hunza of the Gilgit- Baltistan region, which is the only Shia-dominated area in Sunni-dominated Pakistan.
The political crackdown and arrests in Gilgit were made against people protesting against the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which they said would only benefit China and Pakistan’s Punjabi traders.
The youth of Gilgit are not being involved in any manner with the CPEC and those who are protesting are being harshly dealt with, said the protesters. Over 500 young Gilgitis have been jailed, including Gilgit’s top political activist Baba Jan, which saw increasing mass street-based movement for his release. Protesters alleged that Pakistan is perpetrating massive human rights abuses to crush the political aspirations of the people of Gilgit.