Awais Ali Khan
Once upon a time five young brothers, along with two of their other younger brothers, were going to shift from an old home to a new home. When they were shifting, a kidnapper in the way, aims at both of the ‘younger ones’ to kidnap. The kidnapper ambushes and captures one. The journey-troubled younger brothers try to resist. However. the intruder overpowers them during the scuffle, and takes the younger one hostage. The ‘other younger’ brother goes missing during the scuffle. Elder brothers worry and want to get back their younger-brothers, and assume “both have been kidnapped”, but they they couldn’t do anything. One of ‘held-hostage’ brothers however ‘was not’ kidnapped, and was lost during scuffle .So he struggles to get back to ‘new home’ and join brothers.
His elder brother had in their belief that both younger brothers were kidnapped, however he tries to find home, and reaches few days later. He desires to be warmly welcomed by brothers in home. But when he tries to get into home, younger brothers don’t recognize him. They say ‘both’ of our brothers were kidnapped, and we can’t get you entered alone, unless we find other one too. The younger brother thinks what is wrong here. I am their brother too, but why do they want to keep me out side, saying that “unless the kidnapped one is freed, you cannot enter in home “. The younger brother gets confused, he asks himself “if one brother is held hostage, and other one is found, why he is being stopped by elder brothers, for sake of hostage brother?
The questions keep on popping up in his head. He also thinks, if he is not being allowed to get into home, should he go somewhere else? He quits the negative notions, and makes firm mind that he has to get to house, and he will not leave. The brother decides to be ‘watchman’ of house, as this is only apparent way, he can continue to be affiliated with house. When elder brothers see ‘younger protecting house’ despite not being allowed to enter, they give him clothes and meals, to sort of reciprocate his services. But younger brother thinks ‘this is not only what I want”, he deems “I am also their brother and want to get into house”.
He questions himself, “For how long I have to pay price of another brother’s victimhood?” How long, do I have to wait at house’s threshold, with hope of getting in? For how long shall I be returned with meals and clothes, as replacement of my desire of being member of home?
Days go on, and today the younger brother turns out to be of 68 years on 1st November 2015, waiting at threshold of house to get entered.
This is storey of constitutionally orphan Gilgit-Baltistan, who has been in limbo of statehood. Standing at threshold of getting labeled, owned and mainstreamed as Pakistan. It has been scapegoat of Pakistan’s foreign policy, on its principal stance on Kashmir issue. Whose farfetched implications has been institutionalized in its society’s social fabric, and entrenched in psychologies of its masses, to abysmal depths. Three generations spent their lives to see long standing issue being resolved, between Pakistan and India, to which GB has been ‘compromised part of’. Despite its ‘separate independence’ on 1st November 1947, and unconditional annexation with Pakistan, attaching it with 1948’s Karachi Agreement on Kashmir has been ‘colossal misfortune’ for its millions of people.
Considering it disputed in 1948’s agreement, and affixing it with Kashmir case has been blunder in past. Whose ripples created so many imbalances, that identities of millions are questioned. ‘Limbo’ stance from one side, with which it got attached, and opportunistic ownership claim from second side, which it never wants to be attached with, creates question marks in minds of GB’s upcoming young-generations in pre wiring ages.
Pakistan’s political apparatus itself has not been stout, in history to maintain and enrich democratic norms in its institutions. Political weaknesses causing derailment of democracy multiple times, and resultant patronization of security establishment, made things so intricate that, GB’s limbo got buried underneath for decades. During this course of time, its people remained loyal to country, acting as unpaid security guards. In ad mist of democratic coups, in 1963’s Pak China agreement, of ceding 2000 Sq Km of GB’s Shaksgam Valley to China .1988’s massacres, happening under nose of “USSR breaking security establishment” in ‘Martial Law Zone -6’. 1999’s ‘strategic depth’ based Kargil war and utilization of paramilitary NLI’s shroud less solders across boundary, and portrayal as non-state entities, in international projections. All are instances where GB bleeds, getting its loyalty tested several times in different ways, and State used its jurisdiction, as it principally has to do, in its constitutional territories.
Even in current in implementation of NAP based Military Court jurisdiction extension to GB ,and CPEC project’s proceedings in GB, show ‘practicality state’s ownership on ‘allegedly disputed’ territory otherwise .Chinas concern for settlement of internal issues for CPEC to work smoothly, and India’s sudden-opportunistic care for this ‘disputed region’ ,makes it ideal situation for Pakistan to make it ‘conditional territory constitutionally ‘ and no more keep it as ‘disputed territory’. As when “rationale” is there for excessive state involvement in this region, in all fronts in past .With resource utilization practice for nationwide projects, common taxation bases ,and state’s writ implementation ,the “same rationale” can be applied on giving representation in Parliament,NFC and CII. Otherwise, skewed utilization of ‘limbo logic’, in favor of federation’s own utilization, and opposite in terms of representation rights of people, will make things questionable.
More over, local political apparatus’s upbringing, having weak traits of parental-national apparatus, has to been full of weaknesses, and resultantly dependent on federation. This is because progressive evolution has occurred, neither institutionally nor socially. With geographical terrain difficulty, leading to inaccessibility, area’s agro-based potential, at comparatively lesser output level, than other parts, is still underutilized, due to lack of utilizable mechanisms. Administrative and decision making ‘remote controlling’ from federal capital, with meager portfolios at local representatives’ disposal, and heavy reliance on federal subsidies and jobs, also added to economic underdevelopment and lethargic GDP per capita growth .Moreover, lack of private enterprise development ,and business venturing scarcity ,lead to economical dependency’s enhancement, being compounded day by day.
However with its ‘Empowerment Package’ of 2009 set a good precedent, with some nominal incentivization towards self sufficiency. But still federal patronization dominated with, upper house (ie GB Council) dealing with key subjects, merely devolving micro governance portfolios at local legislature. In 2013 federal government changed, but its patronization again remained continued with ‘appointment of non local governor of GB’. Incumbent government, repeating conventional trend, is again of party at centre, as result of GB’s 2015 elections. Their electoral mileage was upon their commitment to development, shadowing any inflated commitment of constitutional progressivism. Their extend of putting constitutional issue ‘untouched’ has been so mesmerizing to them, that they apparently seem buying notion ‘eat good food and wear good clothes, and constitional limbo will then be miraculously solved. On positive note, the incumbent government’s commitment apparently seems in right direction “on paper”, and in light of newspaper statements. However, how these ‘alleged commitments’ take material form is yet to be seen, with their impended implications.
For rest of country mates, it’s necessary to know that storey of that ‘waiting-younger brother’ at house’s gate is going on with its 68th year starting, and how long its wait for entrance in house, is going to be is what we have to cogitate upon.
Happy Independence Gilgit-Baltistan..!