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Gilgit-Baltistan; According to the laws of the Khalsa government, the occupation of the owned lands by the government continuesTAZAA News

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Sayyid Mubarak, a resident of Gohri Harmang, told us that on the night of October 23-24, 2022, the police shot people who were protecting their property in Gohri, Harmang’s residence, and tortured the youth there. After this, 13 young and old people were arrested and a case was opened against them. According to him, the district administration is trying to take over our lands in the name of Khalsa. Hoh Maidan is our independent and ancient pasture, and we will never allow the government to touch it. Already by occupying all our land, many government buildings have been built on it, including the Deputy Commissioner’s office and residence, and now they want to take over the rest of the land as well.

According to the police, people of Gohri tried to enter the government land by breaking the fence and at the same time threw stones at the deputy commissioner’s office, which broke the windows of the security officer’s room next to the gate and damaged the police car. A stone was also thrown, the police took action on it and arrested 13 people and filed a case against them. The arrested persons were later released on bail by the decision of the local court. Thus, in 2019, the people of Ghahri confronted the police and were arrested that time as well.

On the other hand, on January 5, 2023, in the Manawar area of ​​Gilgit, the district administration with the help of police, FC and scouts of Gilgit-Baltistan demolished the constructed houses and there was a fierce clash with the people. . Meanwhile, the security forces started firing and firing in the air. According to Assistant Commissioner Gilgit, Retired Captain Areb Ahmed Mukhtar, as soon as information about constructions on government land in Manawar was received, an operation was launched on the orders of Deputy Commissioner Gilgit and the buildings constructed there were demolished. While the people of Manawar said that these lands belong to the people. The government is trying to seize the land under the guise of the Khalsa government, which we will never allow. On the other hand, in Skardu Chomak, the conflict between the district administration and the local people lasted for 3 years. Similarly, in 2015, hundreds of constructed buildings were destroyed overnight in Maqpundas.

Thus, in all districts of Gilgit-Baltistan, clashes between the people and the police have become common in the name of the Khalsa government. According to the police, only in January, a case was registered against five people due to clashes between the police and the public. Two of these cases have been registered under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Najaf Ali, Chairman of the Awami Action Committee, told us that there are four types of land in Gilgit-Baltistan, which include private land, grazing lands, Deh Harim and pasture lands. He says that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan are against the Khalsa government because Gilgit-Baltistan is a disputed area and there is no government land in the disputed area. He further said that the government is trying to take these proprietary lands from the people of Gilgit-Baltistan in the name of Khalsa government. The government should stop brutalizing the people here.

What is Khalsa Sarkar?

According to Engineer Shabbir Hussain, head of the Gilgit-Baltistan Awareness Forum, Khalsa Sarkar is the name given to the government of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, which was established in Lahore in the 18th century. In the 19th century, their rule extended to Jammu and Kashmir and later to Ladakh and Gilgit-Baltistan under Governor Gulab Singh. As soon as the government was established, all cultivated lands were registered in the settlement documents. People’s lands were determined, and then a decree was issued that wherever there are plots of land, mountains, deserts and common pastures of rural people from Lahore to Gilgit, which are not registered in the name of a specific person in the population documents. , Lahore is considered the property of the Sikh government, that is, the Khalsa government. The law enacted by the Khalsa government is still in force in Kashmir, Kargil, Ladakh and Azad Kashmir.

According to senior journalist Fahim Akhtar, one of the main reasons for land disputes in Gilgit-Baltistan and other conflicts arising from them is the elimination of the role of the state entity. This law was implemented by Hari Singh, the last Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir in 1927. Under it, non-residents were barred from buying land and taking up permanent residence in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which includes the entire Gilgit-Baltistan region. This law is still in force in Azad Kashmir, but was suspended in Gilgit-Baltistan in 1974. With the abolition of the subordinate state rule in Gilgit-Baltistan, the distribution of lands began.

According to an Awami Action Committee official, under the guise of the Khalsa government, land is being allotted to civil, military and administrative officers from outside Gilgit-Baltistan, where these non-locals are building hotels and guest houses.

Protest against Khalsa Sarkar

Indeed, there are daily protests against the Khalsa government in Gilgit-Baltistan, but at the end of December last year, the Gilgit-Baltistan Awami Action Committee and the Traders’ Association launched a series of protests in Skardu. Thousands of people participated in this protest, which lasted for 9 days, despite the severe cold. Demonstrators chanted anti-government slogans and demanded an end to the occupation of public lands in the name of the Khalsa government.

Local people are protesting against the government’s occupation of their lands

Addressing the rally, the speakers said that they will protect the land of Gilgit-Baltistan at all costs and will never allow the government to occupy the lands of the poor people. Gilgit-Baltistan is a disputed area and there is no government land in the disputed area. Attempts are being made to suppress those who protest against the Khalsa government and cases are being opened against them.

Organization of the Land Reform Committee

Prime Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan Khalid Khurshid on December 12, 2022, in his presidency, established the Land Reforms Committee, which included Law Minister Syed Suhail Abbas, Deputy Speaker Nazir Ahmed Advokat and other personalities, after which the protest at the end of started in December. On the 9th day of the protest, January 5, the talks between the prime minister and dharna leaders were successful in Gilgit.

The Prime Minister also announced to change the name of Khalsa Sarkar to Government land. The land reform committee was also formed in 2018 during the leadership of former prime minister Hafizur Rahmon, but this committee also ended without a serious decision under his government. On January 26, 2023, an important consultative meeting of the Land Reform Committee was held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan Khalid Khurshid. According to the press release issued by the office of the Prime Minister, a detailed review of the progress of land reform in Gilgit-Baltistan was held at the meeting. The meeting also discussed a private law firm with expertise in land reform.

In this regard, Prime Minister Khalid Khurshid said that comprehensive land reforms are necessary for a stable and permanent solution to the land problem in Gilgit-Baltistan. The government is actively working in this regard. We will give a gift to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan by carrying out the best land reforms.

Earlier, former Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed a public meeting in Skardu on December 16, 2021 and said that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan should not sell their land to non-locals. The Cabinet of Gilgit-Baltistan has decided to implement Imran Khan’s advice that no one can buy land here without having a home in Gilgit-Baltistan. After this decision, two regions of Gilgit-Baltistan; The administration of Gilgit and Ghazor region introduced Article 144, which prohibits the sale and purchase of land by non-local people.

Ghulam Hussain Athar, the president of the central republic of the Traders’ Association, who was at the head of the negotiations with the government, told us that the government delegation assured in the negotiations that until the end of the Khalsa Sarkar law and the draft law will not be presented in the assembly. Until that time, in order to prevent the distribution of land, these lands will be called the land of the provincial government instead of the Khalsa government. A notification on the naming of state land has also been issued. He further said that Prime Minister Khalid Khush Rasheed has categorically said that he will also go to Gilgit-Baltistan Opposition Leader Advocate Amjad and former Prime Minister Hafizur Rahman for land reform. It is hoped that the Prime Minister will soon call an all-party conference, where consultations will be held on the distribution of the lands of the region to the people and saving the lands from the mafia.

The people here also want to end the Khalsa Sarkar system, which has been waiting for years in Gilgit-Baltistan. The need of the hour is to restore the role of a state entity in Gilgit-Baltistan so that it becomes a full constitutional province and the people are given full rights to own their land. Stop allocating land between local non-representatives. People have welcomed the establishment of Land Reforms Committee by the government and hope that the Prime Minister will now eradicate the problem. However, officials of the Awami Action Committee expressed their concern that this committee, like the previous committees, will die without solving the land issue.

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