Gilgit-Baltistan has remained in a constitutional limbo since its independence on 01, November 1947. The region was annexed with Pakistan after a war in which the then rulers, Dogras, were defeated.
The region has been ignored in a wide range of issues including education, healthcare and infrastructure development. It has not been granted with the due budget, depriving the region of the socio-economic development opportunities, which has led to increase in poverty.
The geo-strategic and geo-political location of GB also adds to its importance in the region. It connects our all weather friend China via the KKH to warm water seaport. GB alone has a potential of producing 50,000 MW of energy through hydel generation. There is a long list of services the region has rendered. Patriotism is deeply ingrained in heart and souls of the inhabitants of GB, reflected in the sacrifice put forth in defending the soil. Lalik Jan, a soldier from Yasin valley of GB being awarded with the highest gallantry award of Nishan-e-Haider speaks for itself.
In contrary to all these facts and its unconditional affiliation with Pakistan it has always been neglected and has got a stepchild like treatment. There are no industries in GB and the downtrodden population solely depends on outsourcing products of daily consumption. It is pertinent to mention that the area had been enjoying subsidy on wheat sine 1970s that is withdrawn today on the behest of Federal government under the implementation of IMF’s policies. After which a sack would cost more than double of its previous price. The government should, once again, revisit its decision as it would deteriorate the already worsened lives of the masses.
The contributor is a student of COMSATS University, Abbottabad.