China’s MSS counters ISI to take control of Gilgit Baltistan. Both Gilgit Baltistan and Balochistan are currently the most unstable regions due to human rights violations by Pakistan and are witnessing protests which makes them an ideal location for the Left Wing whom China is harnessing. The Chinese objective is to use the left-organised movements in Gilgit Baltistan to prepare a pro-Communist environment to enable it to control the region as a proxy state. This is the new Gilgit Baltistan that the world is seeing. It looks like the Chinese are once again on a Long March, this time to take over Pakistan! … A special report by Dr Sakariya Kareem
Some reports from Gilgit Baltistan reveal that China is backing protests in the region against the Pakistan deep state. It may seem unlikely but a deeper dive into the narrative suggests that there is more to this than meets the eye.
Two things stand out. First, the protests today are anti-Pakistan, as opposed to being pro-freedom and second the protests are choking the supply of essential goods to Gilgit Baltistan. As of date, huge protests are witnessed in Gilgit, Yasin, Diamer, Baltistan, Nagar, & Kharmang where supplies are choked. The question is why China should stake its claim and back the protests in Gilgit Baltistan. After all, over the years, several reports had suggested that Pakistan had or was willing to lease the region to China so that it could extract the mineral resources of Gilgit Baltistan.
A closer look at the #NepalCorrespondence Twitter thread indicates that there is more to this story than meets the eye. It is worth first detailing, the process of change that has occurred like protests in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and how they shifted their tone. Initially, the protests began with the demand for a merger with India. Protests in January last year sought the reopening of the road to Kargil and a merger with India. The same message was reiterated in August when the Shia cleric Agha Baquir Al-Hassani was arrested. Massive protests broke out in the Gilgit-Baltistan region over the arrest of Al-Hassani under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws.
The protests were said to be the largest that the region has witnessed, with slogans of “Chalo, chalo Kargil chalo” rending the air. Local leaders warned the Pakistan government of a civil war and some even demanded a merger with India.
Around this time, the people of Gilgit Baltistan were hit by high electricity bills and a fuel price hike. On top of that prices of essential commodities like wheat went through the roof. The narrative of protests then shifted to unemployment and inflation. In September 2023, GB witnessed massive protests in Skardu, Rondu & Chilas & demanded to end Pakistan’s illegal occupation. Indian flags were also raised after Islamabad sent Punjabi Sunni clerics to threaten the locals.
The Twitter handle #NepalCorrespondence claims that China’s plan to gain proxy control of Gilgit Baltistan is a counter to Pakistan’s ISI, which has long planned to take full advantage of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The map prepared by Gateway House (below) shows the massive investment of China in Gilgit Baltistan, and Pakistan as a whole. The US$ 46 billion CPEC was meant to be the game-changer for Pakistan, but the Pakistan Army has exploited China for its ends. It has tacitly allowed its homegrown terror groups to target the project while claiming to protect the projects.
According to #NepalCorrespondence, the other Pakistani ISI plan has been to use bride agents who get married to Chinese nationals. Pertinently, from 2015 to 2019, more than 600 Pakistani girls were sold as brides to Chinese, which was an ISI project to place their assets in the bedrooms of important Chinese targets. Once the Chinese MSS found out, it prepared a counter plan to safeguard its investments in Gilgit Baltistan and Balochistan. One of the steps has been to pressurise the Pakistani government to allow private Chinese security agencies to be involved in guarding their assets along the CPEC.
In Gilgit Baltistan, the left groups have begun to serve the Chinese agenda. Two things make this point clear. First, the RWF took control of the street protests and made them more organised and focused on issues of governance, thus directly targeting the government in Islamabad. This created a sort of power vacuum and generated a discussion, “If not Pakistan then Who?” One of the biggest successes of the ‘Red Workers Front’ (RWF) came on 4 December 2021 when it organised a convention in the Bakhtiar Labour Hall, Lahore where hundreds of workers from the public & private sector, trade unions, students & peasants gathered from all parts of Pakistan. The sudden emergence of left groups is directly linked with organised protests & strong media attention. At least 17 people of ‘Red Workers Front’ are allegedly on China’s payroll claims #NepalCorrespondence. Original leaders of protest groups in Gilgit Baltistan are being quickly replaced with pro-Beijing ones.
An online article on Marxist.com informs that the mass movement against the payment of electricity bills in Kashmir has been reported on by RWF national Vice-President, Yasir Irshad. The International Marxist Tendency (IMT) and the RWF have been at the forefront and initiated this campaign and the formation of Awami Action Committees across the region. The movement has become so powerful that 5 million people are now refusing to pay electricity bills, and in October 2023, the provincial government was forced to sit down and negotiate after thousands of women came out in protest. This is of immense significance in an area where women are usually marginalised from the public sphere.
Both Gilgit Baltistan and Balochistan are currently the most unstable regions due to human rights violations by Pakistan and are witnessing protests which makes them an ideal location for the Left Wing whom China is harnessing. In 2023, several reports claimed that the Punjabis of Pakistan had planned to give Gilgit Baltistan to China to clear its debts. The Chinese objective is to use the left-organised movements in Gilgit Baltistan to prepare a pro-Communist environment to enable it to control the region as a proxy state. This is the new Gilgit Baltistan that the world is seeing. It looks like the Chinese are once again on a Long March, this time to take over Pakistan!