Gilgit - Baltistan

Independence Day: Lawyers blast Islamabad for Gilgit-Baltistan’s constitutional deprivations

Gilgit: A large number of lawyers from district bar council and other bodies of the legal fraternity attended the convention today. Photo: Mon Shireen
Gilgit: A large number of lawyers from district bar council and other bodies of the legal fraternity attended the convention today. Photo: Mon Shireen

PT Report 

Gilgit, November 1:  “The Government of Pakistan should either accept one of our three proposals, or face a movement for restoration of the defunct Islami Jamhuria Gilgit, after 1st November 2014”, lawyers warned at a conference held here on the independence day of Gilgit-Baltistan. The three proposals put forth through a declaration were;

  1. Make GB the fifth province after amending Pakistan’s constitution
  2. Introduce AJK-like constitutional parliamentary governance system in the region, 0r
  3. Conditionally integrate/annex/fuse/join (انضمام) Gilgit-Baltistan with Azad Kashmir, under a constitutional arrangement

They termed the period from 1st November 2013 to 31st October 2014 as the deadline year, urging the government to bring an end to the violation of International Human Rights Charter and the orders (SCMR 1379) of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, decreed in 1999.

The lawyers passed a resolution saying that the people of Gilgit-Baltisan were being treated as “third-class citizens” and they were deliberately being kept deprived of their due legal and constitutional rights.

The convention had been called by the Supreme Appellate Court Bar Association and attended by bar councils members and lawyers from all seven districts of Gilgit-Baltistan.

The lawyers also expressed anger at the 66 years long legal and constitutional deprivations of the Gilgit-Baltsitan region, terming it a uniquely deprived part of the world. The lawyers’ convention also observed that segments of people in the region have been so anguished by the deprivations that they are now talking not just of nationalism, but also separatism. They said that it is in Pakistan’s best interest to address grievances of the people before it is too late.

Speakers at the convention also highlighted the geo-strategic and political importance of Gilgit-Baltistan, refuting the impression that it is a burden on the economy of Pakistan.

The lawyers also rejected the claims that provision of constitutional rights to Gilgit-Baltistan will affect the Kashmir dispute. They said that people in the Indian Kashmir and AJK were being governed under constitutional setups but the same rights are not being given to Gilgit-Baltistan in the name Kashmir dispute. The lawyers also said that the revolutionary council of Gilgit Scout had acceded the newly formed state of Gilgit to Pakistan but the rulers refused to accept the annexation request and pushed the region towards a constitutional limbo. They also said that the states of Hunza and Nagar, as well as the regions of Darel and Tangir had acceded to the state of Pakistan, which was never honored by the rulers of Pakistan.

The lawyers also said through a joint resolution that the Gilgit-Baltistan was liberated by the people of the region and it is not an occupied part of Pakistan. They said that ruling the region through a “remote-controlled setup” is unacceptable.

Scanned copies of the text of the declaration are appended below.

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  1. First of all we salute to all those martyrs and Ghazies who
    gave us freedom at the cost of their own lives. Apart from this we also honour
    those individuals and forums who have devoted themselves for the unity and peace
    of Gb , development of Gb, rights of Gb.

    The Gb people have great devotion and affection with Pakistan
    despite of not having constitional right in senate and national assembly, but
    this devotion should never be underestimate and consider their weakness as
    well. The ruling leadership should not wait until and unless the people of GB
    start to demand for constitutional right. They should lead at their own level
    to grant us vote right and make GB fifth province.

    We appreciate the efforts and initiations taken by think
    tanks of law knowing community envisioning for GB constitutional right. This
    also reflects of unity and integration towards the GB common demands and
    development. On the same line the ruling leadership of GB also proves their
    leadership through striving for fifth province instead of becoming figure heads
    or agent of collecting money for seniors or parties legally or illegally.

    On the same line of lawyers all our leadership, social
    activists, journalists and political party leaders should be on the same page
    for their justified demands.

    At the same time we would expect with respected prime
    minister of Pakistan, president of Pakistan and Chief justice of Pakistan to
    ensure the implementation of order of supreme court SCMR 1379 May 1999 and declare the Gb fifth
    province of Pakistan.

    We are optimistic that present ruling leadership of country
    along with leaders of political parties would consider our demands and oblige
    us and remove the frustration of GB people.

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