GILGIT-BALTISTAN: Last year many mainstream political parties introduced bills for the creation of new provinces in Pakistan. At the national level the creation of new provinces is an issue which can be discussed and deliberated on at any time but the already existing issue of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) has always been on the back burner. Those in power have always treated G-B as an orphan child.
Granting constitutional rights to G-B is of importance. However, those demanding these rights are languishing in jails. Draconian laws are used to silence dissenting views. Today, the harsh reality is that G-B does not have any representation in the National Assembly or the Senate. The G-B legislative assembly is impotent much like the GB council. The decentralisation of power never took place in any real sense as the subjects under the G-B legislative assembly are of least importance.
Undoubtedly, tourism in G-B has grown over the years due to its natural beauty. This beauty cannot overshadow the high unemployment, and the poor health and educational facilities that the region suffers from. Granting constitutional rights would at least be a step towards redressing the grievances of the people of G-B.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2020.