ISLAMABAD: The Balawaristan National Front (BNF) has appreciated China’s decision on placing conditions, including ownership of the mega project Diamar-Bhasha Dam in the Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) on the Indus River in Gilgit-Baltistan.
The BNF had demanded that ownership of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan must be recognized before the international community and the administrative and financial matters of Diamer-Bhasha dam must be given to the owners of the area(Diamer and rest Gilgit-Baltistan) and free electricity should be given to Gilgit- Baltistan.
Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) Chairman Muzamil Hussain said the Chinese conditions were about taking ownership of the project.
Pakistan Water Resources Secretary Shumail Khawaja said that Pakistan decided to take the dam project off the table, just before the seventh Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting with China, which was scheduled for November 21 in Islamabad.
BNP’s Chairman Abdul Hamid Khan, in a statement said, “It is success of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan whose land had been snatched by the Pakistani occupation regime, by force. People of Diamer and particularly Chilas must feel happy for this success, because their protests and sacrifices against this dam achieved success. Pakistani occupation regime tried to oppress the struggle by firing at the peaceful demonstrators in Chilas and killing them.”
The BNF had also written letters to World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other world organizations about the Diamar-Bhasha dam, which is the sole property of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Neither the World Bank nor the Asian Development Bank will finance the dam and the government has decided to use it own resources, said water resources secretary Shumail Khawaja.
Gilgit-Baltistan is a UN recognized disputed region and Pakistan’s own constitution as well as its Supreme Court do recognize the disputed status of the area.
Underscoring the atrocities committed by Pakistan, Abdul Hamid Khan, stated that the people of Balawaristan (Pakistan occupied Gilgit-Baltistan) should understand that it is only Pakistan which does not recognize their right of ownership over their lands including the area of Diamar-Basha dam.
Pakistan snatched their right of self-determination, by limiting them to vote either for Pakistan or India and has also increased its forces thousand fold, the statement added.
Pakistan has withdrawn its request to include the $14-billion Diamer-Bhasha Dam in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework after Beijing placed strict conditions including ownership of the project
India has repeatedly objected to the CPEC as it runs through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, saying it’s a sovereignty issue.