GILGIT: A regional religious organisation has called for the withdrawal of ‘Self Governance Order 2009’ in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), saying the order has blocked G-B’s representation in the parliament.
Under the G-B’s empowerment and self-governance order, its status was brought at par with that of a province with a chief minister and governor installed for the first time in the region’s history.
The demand was made by Tanzeem Ahle-Sunnat Wal Jamaat’s (TASWJ) General Secretary Mohammad Nawaz and other leaders during a press conference held at a hotel on Monday. “We want G-B to either be given the status of a 5th province or its affairs handled by the centre,” said Nawaz.
The organisation was registered during 1956 and its office bearers, as they say, have no affiliation with the banned Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamat (ASWJ). They have representation in the Kohistan district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
“The politics has not only damaged the interest of the people of G-B, it has also hampered the Kashmir issue,” said TASWJ’s general secretary. TASWJ leaders said the development has eluded G-B since the new system of governance was introduced by the Pakistan Peoples Party.
A large chunk of the annual budget goes to the chief minister, his cabinet and the governor, leaving nothing for development, Nawaz added.
The leaders urged the government to ensure implementation of peace by getting peace pacts signed by all sects residing in G-B.
About the Diamer operation, the group has lent its support to security agencies and asked them to expand the scope of their operation to the entire region.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th, 2013.