New Delhi (Sputnik): Leaders from Gilgit-Baltistan which shares a border with China's Xinjiang province in the east have called upon the federal government to contact authorities in Beijing for the release of fifty women who are currently being held in Chinese jails. These women are Chinese nationals married to Pakistani men from Gilgit Baltistan.
According to news reports in Pakistani publications, marriages between men and women from GB and Xinjiang are common as the two areas are interconnected by trade and traditions. Chinese women married to GB men often travel to their homeland in Xinjiang to visit their relatives. However, in the last few months, Chinese authorities have started arresting these women suspecting them of having ties to religious extremist groups accused of unleashing terror in the region.
"Many of these women were arrested on suspicion of their links to religious extremist groups when the Chinese government launched a crackdown on elements involved in religiously-motivated acts of terrorism in Xinjiang province. But none of these women have been found to be involved in acts of terrorism in China," Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker Jaffarullah Khan was quoted by The Dawn.
At least 50 Chinese wives of #GilgitBaltistan men have been detained in neighbouring Xinjiang province of #China. Chinese govt arrested these women during a crackdown against terrorist elements in #China.— Khan Baltistani (@KhanBaltistani) March 5, 2018
So, if you are marrying someone from GB you are treated as a terrorist? pic.twitter.com/iwFu2dQpuv
"I condemn it. After marriage they have every right to stay with their husbands — this is only a start. With CPEC a lot worse will happen. These women must be returned to Gilgit-Baltistan so that they can live with their husbands," Dr. Shabir Choudhry, Chairman of South Asia Watch told Sputnik.
Relations between China and Gilgit Baltistan are currently going through a rough patch with locals protesting against China's major infrastructure project — the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which passes through this swathe of land.
— Khan Baltistani (@KhanBaltistani) May 25, 2017
The people of Gilgit Baltistan see CPEC as a threat not only to the environment and ecology of the region but also to their socio-economic fabric. The locals fear that CPEC will facilitate a massive inflow of migrants from different provinces of Pakistan, thus reducing the status of the native inhabitants to that of a minority.
People of Gilgit Baltistan protesting against illegal occupation on public lands in SKardu GB. They ask you end the colonalism imposed on GB by Pakistani atrocities since 1947.— Sher Nadir Shahi (@GilgitiGadero) March 6, 2018
Establishment and their puppets start to grabbing the lands of people in the name of CPEC. pic.twitter.com/JEN4MmxbcT