Gilgit-Baltistan: An Unconstitutional Province

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Ejaz Karim

The federation of Pakistan comprises of four provinces and four non-provincial units, namely FATA, Northern areas now Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the Islamabad capital territory. The people of GB have been living in a constitutional vacuum for over 64 years; they are neither given representation in the parliament nor a constitutional mandate to the local assembly.

On August 2009, an ad-hoc ordinance was introduced by The Government of Pakistan-named Gilgit-Baltistan empowerment and self-governance order. Pakistan People Party called it a democratic change in Gilgit-Baltistan-I accept that names have been changed: Executive to Governor and Deputy Executive to Chief Minister, Northern Areas to Gilgit-Baltistan, we can’t complain much about that- no doubt Ministers are increased but budget is same.

 It was matter of celebration for the people of Gilgit-Baltistan that they are going to have their own Governor and Chief Minister, and the status of so called province. Nothing has been changed at the gross root level, no status of province, no representation either in parliament or senate. We are neither given any administrative setup like Azad Jammu and Kashmir nor facilities which other provinces enjoy. This suspious arrangement on the other hand, increases the prevailing confusion of the local people in order to explain the future status of the area and arises numerous questions: Will a citizen of GB able to be a Chief justice in courts of Pakistan including Supreme Court? Will a citizen of GB able to be chief in Pakistan military forces? Will it be written in syllabus that Pakistan has five provinces? Etc. Three years on- but all the promise seems not more than a betrayal for the people of GB and merely an opportunity of point scoring for Pakistan peoples party. While the area neither get part of NFC award nor separate quota in competitive examinations and seats in various Universities of Pakistan.

Since 1947 the constitutional and administrative status and fundamental human and political rights of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan have been discussed between Governments of Pakistan and India. The constitutions of 1956, 1962 and 1973 of- Pakistan don’t recognize Gilgit-Baltistan as part of Pakistan, It is clearly explained that GB is not part of Pakistan in term of article-1 of the constitution of Pakistan, which spell out territorial limits of the country. But democratic and military dictators introduced various governing reforms in the area under different names in order to align it with the emerging economics and political needs of the country.

Now, it’s the indeed require to clear the stance over GB for both countries- Pakistan and India and give maximum autonomy to the region. Pakistan must change the bureaucratic Government in GB and empower the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) and make its institutional capacity strengthen to work for the people rather than for the bureaucrats and politicians.

The contributor can be reached at k4karimformanite@gmail.com

  1. salam to all
    It is a clear discrimination on the part of the Pakistan government who have taken control of the area of Gilgit Baltistan area and Azad Kashmir. It is an irony that you people have no representation in the Government of Pakistan.I would like to inform the people of Gilgit Baltistan and Azad kashmir that the state assembly of Jammu and Kashmir(INDIA) have 111 seat out of which 24 seat are for Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir specifically. A right provided under the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 48 sub clause (a).

    • What are you talking about? Both countries live on the misery of these people. If there was any sincere effort then freedom could be restored to them officially.
      India has no right over kashmir or gilgit. when india made partion to help helself. It also made dispute to help herself win this case. Because if india really resolves this issue for self determination. India loses this militarization battle.
      Giving right for gilgit, then not giving resolution for kashmir. That does not make sense.
      Our governments are childesh dealing with the dispute.
      Pakistan should with the help of UN resolve this matter with people of gilgit. This is nothing to do with india and UN resolution.
      If pakistan resolves india should be called for answer. like gilgit wants to merge with pakistan thru plebiscite. After UN plebiscite india can not claim gilgit by signing away the final resolution. This will start the kashmir resolution on its own by UN offcourse.

  2. I truely respect the aspiration of people of Gilgit Baltistan. It is only the people of the land who is going to decide where they want to go. I think the partition is in itself a very unfortunate event due to the power struggel between the leader of united India at the time of Indipendence. It is a fact to the world that people of India( before 1947).What is the issue is what is the state of people of Gilgit Baltistan? 64 years you people are still not truely independent. You have a Governor who is appointed by Pakistan goverment. Why should the common people be suffring ?

  3. @sylmarkhan
    I want to inform you that the people of Kasmir region have 49 seat in the state assembly out of
    111 total seat, and the chief minister of the state is also from Kashmir region. The people of Kashmir have an aspiration of independece,but the state of Jammu and Kashmir does not comprise of Kashmir region only it comprise of Jammu and Ladakh region.
    I do not belive in the intitution of UN it is only a puppet in the Hand of Powerful Countries and UN have no authority. Where was UN when America and NATO forces baombarded innocent people of Iraq,Afganistan,also Tribal area of Pakistan? No one is going to decide the future of the people of Gilgit Baltistan. It is only the people of the land who have the right to decide.

    • Gilgit agency dismissed ghansar singh the dogra ruler of gilgit with the help of gilgit scouts.
      Then gilgit agency merged the state with pakistan. Because of the dispute of kashmir, gilgit baltistan can’t officially merge because the border needs demarch.
      So as far people’s aspiration are concerned they are with pakistan. So is the state of gilgit borders pakistan.
      Like how chitral merged with pakistan gilgit merged. One time chitral was part of kashmir state.
      While india made partion to get her ways. In kashmir india wants militarization to get her ways. Because india does not favor kashmir gilgit in pakistan. India signed two nation theory & partion just for herself.
      India only will be defeated if soviet like operation managed. India state of affairs is because of india’s own fault. What is demoratic government and economic boom when you don’t agree independence of other’s but your own. Same way india cares about freedom of her own not other’s. Why people of pakistan kashmir don’t like india. We don’t have anything in common with india. India does not favor two nation theory the basis for independence nor favor’s united india as proposed by UK.
      UK was smart to give advice for united india or divided india. India could not do either one because india is stupid.It failed giving freedom to 1/4 of british india to this day.
      While england gave alot of power to scotland they merged as United kingdom.