‘Don’t Make LoC Permanent, We Want to be in India’

MUMBAI: Kashmiri separatist Masarat Alam, who was spotted raising Pakistan flag in Srinagar on Wednesday, may not have heard about Senge Hasnan Sering, a ‘rights defender’ from Gilgit Baltistan in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) on the other side of Line of Control (LoC). He needs to learn from the president of Institute of Gilgit Baltistan Studies (IGBS) some lessons on attachment towards India.

Senge Hasnan Sering, who is fighting against Islamabad’s atrocities against the people of mineral rich Gilgit Baltistan, is a strong advocate of the region’s merger with India. His only regret is that neither Indian government nor the people of India are seriously interested in the merger.

“There is a feeling in Gilgit Baltistan that the region should get the status of an independent country. In an indirect way, India is responsible for this feeling. We want to be a part of India but the Indian government is mulling making the LoC an international border,” Sering said. Born in Skardu in Gilgit, Sering completed his studies in Pakistan before securing US citizenship in 2008. Headquartered in Washington DC, the IGBS works for the betterment of the people from Gilgit Baltistan, an Indian territory forcibly occupied by Pakistan since 1947. During his one-month-long tour to India, Sering was in the city on Thursday.

“Pakistan treats Gilgit Baltistan as its colony. We don’t have any facility for higher education. As Pakistan has announced that it is a disputed area, we are not citizens of Pakistan. The region is run as per the executive orders by Pakistan’s Minister of Kashmir Affairs. Even if someone raises his voice for legitimate demands, he is imprisoned on sedition charges,” Sering said.

Now, his immediate goal is to attract the world’s attention towards ‘illegal’ elections to be held in Gilgit Baltistan in June.

‘Alam should have been arrested’

According to Sering, Masarat would have been arrested immediately for raising the flag of a foreign country had he done it in Gilgit Baltistan. “He would not have come out on bail in his lifetime for his act,” Sering said.



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