New Delhi, Aug 20 (IANS) For over 59 years, the people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), including Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), were not aware of a secret agreement which decided the political contours and governance of the territory where they have been living.
Now the exiled leaders of PoK and GB are feeling the biggest betrayal at the hands of Islamabad which came through the secret 'Karachi Agreement' allegedly signed between three parties in 1949.
The secret agreement, carrying 'forged signatures' of founder President of PoK, Sardar Ibrahim Khan, Chief of Jammu Kashmir Muslim Conference Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas and key representative of the Pakistan government Mushtak Gurmani, facilitated the forcible occupation of Gilgit-Baltistan by deceit, revealed Nasir Aziz Khan, exiled leader and chief spokesperson of United Kashmir People's National Party (UKPNP), a prominent political outfit in GB.
Haunted by Pakistan's spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for years, Nasir Khan and his party's chief Shaukat Kashmiri now live in Bern, the capital city of Switzerland.
Speaking to IANS, Nasir Khan said that the situation in Baltistan, a bigger part of greater Kashmir occupied by Pakistan, is pathetic.
"The natural resources, including goldmines, are being plundered by Chinese companies at the behest of Islamabad. People are being tortured and kidnapped by the ISI for raising their voice against such blatant loot of resources.
"Under the garb of Schedule IV (of the Terrorism Act), people are not allowed to move out of their places. The basic standard of living is far from the reach of the people who were once promised the moon by the Pakistan government," Nasir Khan said over phone from Bern.
On the Karachi Agreement (PoK) of 1949, the document now being debated across GB and PoK, Nasir Khan said that it was Pakistan's worst kept secret for decades, as it facilitated Islamabad to grab a large chunk of strategic land in GB by stealth.
"In lieu of the so called Azad Kashmir (PoK), Pakistan captured 90 per cent of Kashmir. The founder President (of PoK) Sardar Ibrahim had told our leaders that he did not sign the agreement. His signatures were forged by Muhammed Deen Taseer, the father of former Punjab Governor Salman Taseer.
"For decades, no one knew about this agreement. No one knew in Kashmir about the deal. No one knew that Pakistan had grabbed our land by deceit," said Nasir Khan, who feels that at every step the people of GB were cheated by the establishment.
Documents now reveal that the Karachi Agreement was signed on April 28, 1949, between Pakistan's then Minister Mushtak Gurnami, looking after Kashmir Affairs, Sardar Ibrahim, President of PoK, and Chaudhary Ghulam Abbas, chief of All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference.
The agreement was apparently kept as a secret by the government till 1990s. Even in 1949, when the agreement was secretly signed between the three parties, it was not reported in the media.
The agreement was revealed for the first time in the verdict of Gilgit and Baltistan by the High Court of PoK in 1990s. Later, it was published in the appendix of the Constitution of PoK in 2008. In simple words, the people of GB were cheated by the Pakistan government by keeping the agreement under wraps for 59 years.
Disturbed over the recent developments in the sub-continent and the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan, Nasir Khan said that armed forces (of Pakistan) were being moved from the western borders of the North West Frontier Province towards the eastern side near PoK.
"We fear that another gruesome battle will be fought on our land. The developments in Pakistan are really frightening. We fear the ISI will unleash another blow of cold blooded terror on our people," he said.
About Shaukat Kashmiri, a popular leader of GB, Nasir Khan revealed that since 1999, almost two decades, Shakaut is living in exile.
"The ISI had kidnapped him twice (in 1994 and 1998) and for a long period he was kept in Kharian, the ISI hideout near Rawalpindi. Later on US intervention, Shaukat was released by the ISI on a secluded border of Afghanistan, near the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa area," Nasir Khan said.
Both Nasir Khan and Shaukat Kashmiri are mustering the support of UN agencies and the people of GB at large to expose the nexus of ISI, Pakistan Army and the government establishment in Islamabad, which for years have held democracy at ransom in Gilgit-Baltistan, the greater Kashmir area occupied by Pakistan.