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Residents of Gilgit in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), took to the streets to protest against thousands of acres of land worth billions being illegally acquired by the Pakistan army and the Pakistani government in their region.
"Thousands of acres of land worth billions illegally allotted to Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Force Command Northern Areas (FCNA) shows ample testimony to the fact that how state owned and non-state owned land is being sold to the Pakistan army at throwaway prices," said Ghulan Shah, a local leader at Gilgit.
He further said, "This is not merely a paper of land allotment, but a document exposing the duplex and diabolical nature of the Pakistani establishment".
Shah said: "The state government has acquired 3,000 kanal of land. The other news I've heard is that 20,000 kanal of land has been acquired in a nearby village and this all has been happening under the pretext of CPEC. A similar situation is prevailing in another village Minaaur too. Although 800-900 Kanal of land was already given by our village still 300 Kanal has been given for the firing range."
He also pointed out that the land has not been occupied by covert tricks, but by blatant hooliganism.
"When China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was first announced in the region, then it was declared by Chief Minister Hafiz-ur-Rehman that special economic zones would bring employment in the region. However, the army diktat changed the tone and tenor of the leaders and subsequently all hopes of the people were quashed," he stated.
"The government has allotted land for China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) without taking permission of the local people and there is animosity among the people of Gilgit- Baltistan," Meraj, a Journalist in Gilgit said.
He further noted that various political parties of the region have also expressed their concern, and that the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) has initiated a movement under the name Haq Malikaan and has informed the residents that they should be given compensation from the government for acquiring their land.
Highlighting the fact that Pakistan is assisting Chinese for CPEC, he said, "The proper fencing of the land acquired by the Pakistan military has been done. In order to appease the Chinese and assist them in completing their dream CPEC project, people were threatened, beaten and were forced to make a compromise with the Pakistan establishment."
Accusing the Pakistani government of violating the rules for changing the demography of the region, he added, "The most significant factor is that the law stated that no one outside of Gilgit- Baltistan can purchase or sell the land in the region and Pakistan government has violated the rule by allotting the land for CPEC projects. Pakistan Army and Inter Services Intelligence has been constantly been planning to alter the demography of the region.
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