"China wants to send its goods through here, and Pakistan is looking for its own benefits," claimed Baba Jan, one of hundreds of political activists in Gilgit-Baltistan who have found themselves at the centre of the government crackdown in the region.
Police killed two men trying to disperse the protesters, triggering riots in which residents burned down dozens of government buildings in the region. Jan and more than 100 others were arrested, and Islamabad initially threatened to prosecute all of them in anti-terrorism courts for sedition.
More than 400 candidates stood for election last month to the 24-seat assembly, which has no powers to legislate important matters like how the region's natural resources are used, or how trade with neighbouring China is conducted.
A central issue was the new China corridor, which Jan, along with a handful of other activists who ran for the assembly, see as a slight to locals.
I am sure Indian intelligence agencies are keeping a 'close' watch on this situtation.