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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.

Imran Ahmed Hunzai

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The legal status of Gilgit-Baltistan (formerly known as Northern Areas of Pakistan) has long been a subject of debate at various political and diplomatic arenas. Despite being in a political limbo and neglect 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 legislative 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.

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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Modi’s domineering bully scattered

Justice Retired Muzaffar Ali

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India, a regional power with a population of 1.3 billion, has always been an ambitious colossal poverty-stricken territory trying to dominate over smaller sovereign countries that share a boundary with the country. It has always wanted to be the godfather of the region and even violated settled formula agreed upon for partition of the subcontinent and occupied Jammu and Kashmir, against the will of majority Muslim population.

Muslims in the Indian Occupied Kashmir launched a Jihad since the day one of Indian aggression. Jawaharlal Nehru turned the early failures on India in Kashmir into a diplomatic play card and invoked UN interference with the following policy statement before the UN Security Council on 15 January 1948.

“Only to see peace restored in Kashmir and to ensure that the people of Kashmir are left free to decide in an orderly and peaceful manner the future of their State. We have no further interest, and we have agreed that a plebiscite in Kashmir might take place under international auspices after peace and order have been established.”

India, in fact, played a dirty trick even before UNO just to ease jihad in Kashmir and to gain time to strengthen her occupation over Kashmir and succeeded, because of the dubious character of permanent members of security council despite, India slapped them by denial of resolutions passed by the UN Security Council. The resolutions are consigned to rubbish heap in UNO.

India deceived UNO but failed to remove zeal of kashmiris till today to liberate their motherland. Kashmiris turned their struggle into protest to jolt international conscience, at least to play their role to force India to act upon UN resolutions.

Unfortunately, India facing no such force from outside world, as such
strengthening her forces in Kashmir, extending black laws. Indian army has been given free hand to curb peaceful protest of people. Atrocities of the Indian army are the order of the day in Kashmir instead of complying her pledge of the Kashmir plebiscite.

Pulwama: an unfortunate suicidal attack on Indian army happened in preceding month. One local desperate young man, who was subjugated to torture by Indian army in past, detonated himself to army vehicles, caused casualties. Modi did not waste even a moment to gather proofs but intoxicatingly blamed Pakistan and warned dire consequences, gave free hand to his army to retaliate.

In response, Imran Khan, the Prime Minister of Pakistan, showed a statesman spirit, offered India peace to prevail and asked to provide proofs of Modi’s blame to take action against any terrorist conspired by any nonstate actor in Pakistan. Khan cleared his policy against terrorism but at the same time, he voiced loudly to retaliate any armed adventure against Pakistan. On the next day, DG ISPR made a press conference.

He also reacted but in a sober manner as a supporter of peace, rebutted any involvement of Pakistan. Categorically, offered dialogue with India and also warned a surprising response if India launched any sort of military attack across.

Modi listened, peace offer and also any armed adventure from Pakistan side, with half an ear. Missed a chance of complete peace as he went into a frenzy of rage. He, in fact, wanted to turn the situation in his favor for coming elections by creating a war like situation with Pakistan. Indian army was also eager to show its unchallengeable force, therefore, Indian army also chose war instead of peace and army dashed an air attack crossing the international border.

Their aircrafts dropped payloads in a thick forest and ran in dark of night. The response by Pakistan was a nightmare for India. The brave air force of Pakistan not only achieved their targets inside India but also, bombed down two Indian aircrafts; one in Pakistan side and another in Indian side.

Arrested Indian pilot ejected from crashing aircraft after saving his life from angered mob of civilian gathered on the spot. The retaliation from Pakistan was a surprise for Modi and Indian army. They are still taken aback and have failed to come out of aftershock of the attack yet. Modi’s
fool’s paradise turned into doom his future.

Indian army also could not digest the adverse effects sustained in front of the world at large. World opinion turned against Modi’s policy of bringing the region and the world endanger of atomic war. While Mr. Khan appeared in the canvas of world as peace loving statesman, particularly, his act of releasing Indian arrested pilot without terms and conditions, proved him a sober statesman and friend of humanity.

Pakistan army also proved to be a professional army in the true sense as even being a fully capable army to response Indian threads, it, again and again, offered India to prevail peace in the region. Modi’s warmongering attitude again made Kashmir issue flashpoint before the international community, which has been forgotten by superpowers.

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Crown on the Head of Pakistan

Justice Retired Muzaffar Ali

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Force Commander FCNA Major General Ehsan Mehmood

Recently, Force Commander FCNA Major General Ehsan Mehmood addressed a public gathering in Skardu on the eve of solidarity with people of Occupied Kashmir, illustrated Gilgit-Baltistan as “Head of Pakistan”, and hailed the people living therein with the title “Crown on the Head” of Pakistan.

The signification of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan with the words that, none other anywhere in Pakistan, is more loyal and patriotic to Pakistan than that of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. He uttered these words with a commanding and responsible impression on his face. I borrowed the words of the general for the title of this article.

Indeed, the golden words vocalized from the mouth of the Force Commander Federal Constabulary Northern Areas are recognition and admiration of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan by Pakistan Army, of their allegiance to Pakistan. The able military general, from the day first of his
posting, has shown his love and affection to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.

He is known to be in reach, to help and to meet grievances of needy people, when, and where his help is requested. The instant example I read in social media and in newspapers, seems great to help a convicted person Baba Jan who is suffering from heart disease in jail. The person was met and shifted CMH Gilgit for his treatment properly on the orders of the Force Commander FCNA himself.

The commander hugs underprivileged and poor in the streets and gives them a sense of protection. The general, in fact, act on the principle that, no army, how much strong it may be, cannot defeat the enemy unless the civil population joins in hand with the army. The positive attitude extended by the force commander is exemplary to other high ups serving in Gilgit-Baltistan. They should also behave alike and avoid a colonial mentality.

Irrebuttable, the other aspect of positive behavior of this man shines and transpires his clear concept of understanding the geopolitical importance of the region. Geopolitical location of the region makes it a gateway to the regional powers, having approaches with each other.

Gilgit-Baltistan is bounded with China, Occupied Kashmir and Afghanistan. A little strip of Pamir prevents to bound this region to south Asian states. Geopolitical importance of the region remains as important today as it was important for the British Government in India because of USSR. The Russian government might penetrate into British India through this region with the intention to spread communist ideology at that time.

Today the superpowers like the USA are worried about China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) between China and Pakistan. The burning of the Indian government and her cries are witnessed from media.

Besides all the above geopolitical importance, if the only issue of water shortage is discussed then too this region having not any less importance for Pakistan. The experts have given their opinion on the subjects that; Pakistan fastly travels towards dryness in the country. Prime minister of
Pakistan also has warned the nation in this regard. Pakistan has the only region, to which nature has bestowed with abundant water reservoirs. Lofty snow clad mountains and huge range glaciers therein are the only hope for Pakistan to meet the severe situation of a shortfall of water in future.

This region is called Gilgit-Baltistan which has been kept disputed by relating the same to Kashmir issue. The present status of GB needs to be reconsidered by the responsible quarters and think tanks in Pakistan, even if, they could not traverse from their previous stance, then; they should realize the ambition of people of Gilgit Baltistan as their fed up to the teeth with the present colonial setup. people of Gilgit-Baltistan want a constitutional status in Pakistan. At least, add power to the status
to occupied Kashmir by enemy country India or the status given to Azad Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan.

The recent verdict given by the Supreme Court of Pakistan can be cited in this regard wherein a safe way out has been directed to follow the recommendations given by the Sartaj Aziz Committee. The federation can
make a provisional province of Gilgit-Baltistan pending disposal of Kashmir issue by amending the constitution as the Supreme Court has categorically held in his verdict that, a provisional province pending disposal of the Kashmir issue is not fatal to the Kashmir issue.

Before departing, I invite the attention of the commander FCNA and 10 core commander to use their good offices to convince federation of Pakistan and the opposition to solve this problem of Gilgit-Baltistan which is in fact the Pakistan’s own problem if deeply understood the issue, keeping in view the importance of the region in present scenario stated above.

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