5 Facts That Might Put You to Think That Gilgit-Baltistan is Not Part of Pakistan

The legal status of Gilgit-Baltistan (formerly known as Norther Areas of Pakistan) has long been a subject of debate at various political and diplomatic arenas. Despite being in a political limbo and neglected of basic rights that other Pakistanis enjoy, the people of these mountainous regions proudly call Pakistan their home. As a matter of fact, many men and women have put their blood and sweat to bring a good name to this country.

As the people of Gilgit-Baltistan celebrate independence day, let us look at some facts that might give you a picture of the status of this 73 thousand square kilometer region and its over 2 million citizens.

5. “Karachi Sey Kashmir” Narrative

Map of Pakistan
Map of Pakistan according to the constitution of Pakistan. Based on Dawn News article “Territorial limits”

If you have grown up watching Pakistani TV channels, I am sure you have come across commercials and political speeches that often mention “Karachi sey Kashmir” as a slogan to refer to the whole of Pakistan clearly forgetting about a piece of land that slightly bigger than some 70+ sovereign states in the world.

4. Entire Pakistan; Except Gilgit-Baltistan

KADO internet marketing calls in Hunza
An internet marketing class in progress at a training center in Hunza. Hundreds and thousands of students and freelancers are relying on poor quality internet services provided by SCO. Photo Credits Earnistan

Take the example of 3G/4G service. Recall telecos bragging about “… 3G/4G coverage now in entire Pakistan”. Probably they forget to say except Gilgit-Baltistan.

No PTCL kay cheap internet packages and no NayaTel ka high-speed optic fiber powered internet. SCO is the only internet service provider and outages are quite common.

3. Independence

G-B Heroes of Independence
Heroes who struggled for independence of Gilgit-Baltistan. Yeah, no Quaid-e-Azam there. Photo Credits Wikimedia

For starters:

Gilgit-Baltistan got independence from Dogras, Pakistan got its independence from Brits and Hindus.

Gilgit-Baltistan got independence on 1 November 1947, Pakistan got its independence on 14th August, 1947.

Raja Shah Rais Khan was the first President of Gilgit-Baltistan while Liaqat Ali Khan was first Prime Minister of Pakistan.

2. No Representation

National Assembly of Pakistan
National Assembly of Pakistan. Picture Credits: AFP

The representation of Gilgit-Baltistan is confined to a legislatively assembly having limited powers.  There is no political representation from Gilgit-Baltistan at the national assembly. That’s 2 million people across 10 districts without a voice at the parliament in country’s lower house (National Assembly) as well as the upper house (Senate).

1. The Constitution

Parliament of Pakistan
Parliament of Pakistan. Photo Credits Senate Website

I am quoting a clause from the constitution of Pakistan:

In the Constitution of the Islamic Republic Of Pakistan hereinafter referred to as the Constitution, in Article 1, for clauses (2), (3) and (4) the following shall be substituted, namely — (2) the territories of Pakistan shall comprise:-

(a) the Province of Baluchistan, the North-West Frontier, the Punjab and Sind;

(b) the Islamabad Capital Territory, hereinafter referred to as the Federal Capital ;

(c) the Federally Administered Tribal Areas; and

(d) such States and territories as are or may be included in Pakistan. whether by accession or otherwise.

(3) Parliament may by law admit into the Federation new States or areas on such terms and conditions as it thinks fit.”

No mention of Gilgit-Baltistan whatsoever, not just in this clause but the entire document of the constitution of Pakistan as well.

PS: Guys, stop calling us Northern Areas. We’re Gilgit-Baltistan.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily abide by the policies of the website. If you have any queries, please feel free to contact us.

Imran Hunzai
Imran Hunzai is a Digital Media Consultant and activist based in Islamabad, Pakistan. When free, he likes to travel, do photography and play Rabab. He also runs a HONY inspired blog called Humans of Hunza. Follow him of Twitter @ihunzai.
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