Territorial rights: Gilgit-Baltistan seeks status similar to AJK

Published: February 24, 2012

Lawmakers engage in heated debate over region’s ambiguous legal status.

GILGIT: 

The ambiguous status of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) has sparked a new debate in the region’s legislative assembly — with the fourth day of proceedings witnessing a heated discussion over the existing legal status of the territory.

Assertive legislators rolled out two options: Either provide legal cover for the G-B Self Governance & Empowerment Ordinance 2009, or a setup similar to the one given to Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK).

The debate came in the wake of a petition filed by a resident of G-B Dr Ghulam Abbas in the Supreme Court on Wednesday over the ambiguous constitutional status of G-B. During Wednesday’s hearing the Supreme Court asked the attorney general (AG) to explain under which law was the Self Governance Order 2009 promulgated? The AG replied that the president of Pakistan, on behalf of the federal government, had issued the Self Governance Order 2009 for the region that has no representation in parliament due to its disputed status.

“The setup given to the region needs to be supported by a legal cover just like in AJK,” said Didar Ali, an independent lawmaker during the proceedings of the G-B Legislative Assembly that was chaired by Deputy Speaker Jamil Ahmed.

He said that in the wake of the hearing on the petition filed in the Supreme Court, it has been learnt that the order through which the G-B Self Governance & Empowerment Ordinance 2009 has been enforced is liable to be repealed by any authority anytime. “We are concerned about that,” he said.

Another independent legislator, Nawaz Naji, termed G-B a “fake province” that has no solid roots in the Constitution.

Rehmat Khaliq, a lawmaker of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F), said that constitutionally G-B cannot be given the status of Pakistan’s fifth province due to some international disputes; hence a package similar to the one given to AJK should be allocated to G-B as well.

Meanwhile, G-B Law Minister Wazir Shakil told the house that the G-B ordinance was a presidential order that cannot be abolished. Chief Minister Mehdi Shah then asked the allied party legislators to convince their main leadership to raise their voice in parliament for a permanent status for G-B.

Responding to a question by an independent lawmaker Raziuddin, the law minister said that the G-B judiciary was independent and the government could not interfere in its matters.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 24th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (14)

  • Muhammad Ali
    Feb 24, 2012 - 11:41AM

    Question is why not?
    We should work in our interests, and if Gilgit baltistan wants to be a province, then we should not pay attention to “international dispute” we are already suffering enough for being too international.
    JUI-F is a terrorist organization whose prime focus is to destabilize this country. Their leadership always create hurdles in smooth functioning of Pakistan.

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  • Mir Agha
    Feb 24, 2012 - 12:02PM

    If it was up to the people of GB, it would become a province of Pakistan. They have always remained aware of the international dimensions of their homeland, though the Gilgitis reject that they are a party to the Kashmir dispute for historical and factual reasons. Amazed at the patriotism of these people.

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  • Adam
    Feb 24, 2012 - 12:13PM

    we will get it soon, but who will rule the GB region?, it will be going to another never ending dispute or may be another attack on GB by those elements who did many time from its southern boarders

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  • Manzoor Parwana
    Feb 24, 2012 - 1:46PM

    It is clear that Gilgit Baltistan is not integral Part of Pakistan . Pakistan get the controled og the region in 1949 in the light of Karachi Agreement . Pakistan stationed in GB till the solution of Kashmir Dispute then she leave GB and she should leave GB to revive the independent status of GB. ….at this movemnt Pakistan should grant AJK like status to the region….

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  • CAT
    Feb 24, 2012 - 3:18PM

    Do the esteemed readers know that for about 12 days GB was an independent entity, after its valiant sons won freedom from the Dogra raj? Then, God bless them, they decided to join Pakistan. They should have been given the status of the 5th province when the other 4 were set up. Better hurry, before the young run to the mountains, and remember GB mountains are much higher than those of Balochistan!!

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  • Feb 25, 2012 - 1:31AM

    The lack of autonomy, economic and political rights, is partly due to sectarianism lines and prejudice. Lawmakers are mostly Sunni dominated, while the majority are Shia and marginalized.

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  • John B
    Feb 25, 2012 - 5:53AM

    Hopefully now PAK understands how important it is to resolve all her border fiasco expedition with India.

    Whatever happened to Balwaristan ?

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  • Ajaz Husssain
    Feb 25, 2012 - 10:04AM

    Gilgit Baltistan has never been legal part of Pakistan. It has an indepenent stautus and must be transformed to an independent state. If pakistan couldnt be able to provide basic rights to her own people from last 64 years then how should i expect?

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  • Muhammad Ali
    Feb 25, 2012 - 10:54AM

    @Ajaz Husssain: Fortunately I have been to Gilgit Baltistan many times and did couple of stories there as well. One thing is for certain that they loved Pakistan, they hold nothing against being or called as Pakistanis. You should pay a visit there to record their political opinions.

    Regards

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  • Shaan
    Feb 25, 2012 - 1:32PM

    I trust Northern Pakistanis patriotism. Its the Southern Pakistanis I’m doubtful of.Recommend

  • Manzoor Parwana
    Feb 25, 2012 - 4:08PM

    Dear Muhammad Ali
    The people of Baltistan more and more love to Iran and Saudi Arabia it mean the region should be hand over to that countries .?????
    To have soft corner for a country is another thing ….

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  • bilal
    Feb 26, 2012 - 11:53AM

    I have been to gilgit baltistan…These people are very patriotic

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  • Mar 2, 2012 - 11:57AM

    People of Gilgat Baltistan have been wronged by every body more so in 1947. These fiercly patriotic people were enslave when entire Subcontinent became free. the natural resources which belong to them only has become the centre of attraction for China-Pak alliance. they are being exploited without any benefit to the local population. Health, education and other infrastructure stands witness to this exploitation. Development if any is limited to Karakoram highway that is being used for military purposes, It is time to listen to their voice and hand over the control of their land to its actual owners.

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  • Asam2Kar
    Mar 5, 2012 - 5:22AM

    After reading all comments here that like to sort G-B issues I am surprised no one mentioned the local neighbors who might develop interest in G-B if delayed a resolution, just to pass time “creatively”. Also, if nothing is done for the exploding Punjab population I won’t be surprised if all minorities start to get worried about their land and resources soon to be run-over by them.
    Enough time is wasted and populace has starting to doubt the big brother’s intentions about their resources i.e., to-hold-on-to as long as they can.
    Now there is no name-calling or hatred shown here. But if all “such ideas” are censored what is left for the readers is just “double-roti” to chew on. Which definitely don’t taste like “poori bhujya”.

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