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;
- Make GB the fifth province after amending Pakistan’s constitution
- Introduce AJK-like constitutional parliamentary governance system in the region, 0r
- 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.