Protests in Baltistan amid Pak political crisis


Pakistan has seen mass mobilizations both in protest and celebration since parliament on April 10┬ávoted to remove Imran Khan as prime minister. The vote took place three days after the Supreme Court of Pakistan held┬áthat an order by Khan to dissolve the parliament was unconstitutional. Parliament’s lower house appointed the leader of the opposition, Shehbaz Sharif, as the new prime minister. Khan’s party,┬áPakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf, staged a walkout from the Assembly┬áahead of the vote.

Opposition to Khan has been mounting in the remote and contested Himalayan region of Baltistan. April 6 saw a protest outside government offices in the Baltistan town of Skardu, with residents demanding the return of properties they say have been usurped by local officials. Protesters accused the Khan administration of illegal and forceful acquisition of their properties on behalf of “land mafias” dominated by regional oligarchs.

Baltistan is part of the territory claimed by India as within the disputed province of Kashmir. However, Islamabad has had it administratively severed from the rest of Pakistan-held Kashmir, together with the adjacent region of Gilgit. The governor of the “autonomous territory” of┬áGilgit-Baltistan,┬áRaja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon,┬áresigned after Khan was removed from power. (Jurist, Indian Express, Hindustan Times,┬áDunya News, ANI)

Map via Wikipedia

  1. Pakistan police attack pro-Khan protesters

    Pakistani police fired teargas and baton-charged supporters of ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan on May 25 to block them from reaching the capital Islamabad. Khan has called on the supporters to march on the capital and stay there until the new government is dissolved and a date for a fresh election is announced. (Reuters)

  2. Pakistan mosque blast kills 59

    At least 59 people have been killed by a bomb that apparently targeted police officers praying in a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan. The mosque is within the tightly-guarded police headquarters area. (BBC News)

    Last October saw mass protests in the Swat Valley, also within┬áKhyber Pakhtunkhwa state,┬áagainst growing insecurity in the region. (Al Jazeera) In December, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) raided a counter-terrorism center in Bannu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, sparking a days-long siege that ended in gun-battle in which some 30 of the militants were killed. Two hostages at the facility were also put to death. (Al Jazeera

    Former Prime Minister Imran Khan was shot in the leg while leading a protest march on Nov. 3. Gunfire rained onto his convoy and he was en route to Islamabad in a demonstration aimed at pushing for new elections. (PRI)

  3. Death toll rises in Pakistan mosque attack

    The death toll from a suicide bomb that ripped through a mosque in Peshawar, northwestern Pakistan, rose to at least 100 on Jan. 31, marking one of the deadliest attacks in the country in years. (CNN)