Gilgit-Baltistan’s Identity Crisis!!

Mudabber Ali

“Is it not suffice for your identity as Pakistani that we here in Punjab do not bother you on account of being denizens of Gilgit-Baltistan” A lawyer of high profile tried to ensure me in Lahore. We simply don’t deserve this but at times when I recount the injustice we did to ourselves as a nation I feel such behavior justified. Our political inefficiency and lack of political insight, not demanding11052465_816663151785425_342848367035814701_n fundamental rights, accepting the dissection in society self-created which has faded the hope of collective struggle and above all the habit of being complacent by accomplishing minimum instead of none left us with no other choice than to be Pakistani. We have remained politically inefficient throughout a long course of our history. To form a government in accordance to that appears at the center is not a political achievement. Generally this strategy is opted at local bodies’ election where it does make sense, but not in our case where we comply our political struggle solely on it and feel no more need of political toil. It is strange but it is that we are under colonial rule in 21st century might be little more privileged than the then colonies. At our part it is even more unfortunate to know that we have turned our eyes blind to this reality.

 We are dying in the name of Pakistan not being Pakistani, benefitting the state; through our limitless natural resources and educated human resource, with strategically important location and being the most frequently visited tourists spot. Withal, in retribution what we got is very meager and inadequate; subsidy on flour for a long time and in recent political development we are honored with the lollypop of nominal provincial setup. Does it makes us Pakistani not being recognized by the constitution of Pakistan? Does a dysfunction ID card makes it? The answer is a big NO!

When Samina Baig climbs Mount Everest, she is Pakistani but when it comes to the representation at national assembly or senate her identity no more remains Pakistani and identity crisis prevails. There are many more examples questioning our identity and every single person out there shares this problem.

Even the mother feeds the child only when they cry. We never cried for our rights and they never took it serious. They are absolved from the charge of unfair rule, keeping us in this lingering situation because we can only strive for the matter of bread. Moreover, it is their kindness that they bestowed us what we have right now. People as a single unit staged protest when the subsidy on flour was disregarded and the protest ended achieving the demands. Why we are abstained to voice our grievances in the same way? Is it not speaks of our political negligence? If we are afraid of the preemptive respond that the UN resolution stops Pakistan to embrace us then they can let us enjoy the status been given to Azad Kashmir. I literary feel offended and disrespectful when in my class or in any other social gathering people discuss the problems of Pakistan not considering the region of Gilgit-Baltistan even don’t feel to just mention the name of it so I could keep my mouth shut. This awful situation has happened to me ample times since I have been in Lahore.

 Our negligence towards political insight is drowning us deep in identity crisis to which we are adamant. Getting the highest rank in the list of literacy we have been lucky that nobody has gauged our political abilities otherwise we could have seen demise. Societies evolve with growing time and I feel this process of evolution has been disrupted because we lack political wisdom (major variable in this process of evolution). In the region most families are of middle class and this particular class inherently possess elements which make them to think within status-quo because their chief concerns lie in earning a handsome amount of money to make a happy living, education for the sake of good jobs and upbringing of the children in good environment.  They are least concern with the politics and like things. Luckily or unluckily   a major proportion of our society belongs to middle class.

Whatever we do not see, we believe it’s not there but sometimes whatever we can’t see it is there. Our society was not fragmented as it is now and knowing that some foreign actor has played its role to divide us we fight with each other letting the intruder to cherish the victory. It has remained a common technique to hamper the collective struggle of masses by making segments among them so they remain at each other’s throat and forget to voice their problems collectively.

The habit of being content with minimum instead of none has also inflicted our identity as a nation. For a moment consider the principal of give and take the conspicuous imbalance can be noticed without any trouble. We falsely place things beyond our reach and doing so we are not prepared to achieve them. Our ancestors got independence not to see us subjugated neither to be the victim of state oppression. We should open our eyes so we could see that we are in crisis and more importantly to have this confidence that we can come out of this when we demand for it collectively and holistically.

It is high time for all of us to pay special attention towards our identity crisis. One can argue what you would get by mere constitutional recognition? Regions like Baluchistan and FATA do have constitutional status and representation at the parliament nevertheless they are living a miserable life. The answer lies within the question, not being the constitutional part of Pakistan we are the victims of the oppression (sectarian violence, unchecked use of power, extraction of resources and many more) just like the people of FATA and Baluchistan and in such situation it becomes more than a basic right for us to have our identity as Pakistani as other citizens of the country have. History is witness to the separatist movements all around the world and as an exception we are pleading our allegiance to be unified and they show us face palm. What you are going to do is accept us constitutionally and with regard to international obligations you can’t than we demand you to shut down this colonial rule and leave us on our will. We can’t live as a prostitute anymore.

The writer is studying Political Science at GC University, Lahore. He belongs to Gilgit city. He has completed his FSC from Cadet College Skardu; where he remained active in academics and other co-curricular activities in respect of which he got the appointment of House Captain. Being a member of GCU debating society he joined DSA (democratic students alliance, left leaning student body). 

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  1. very well written dear Mudabbir. keep it up. I expect that talented youth like you could highlight the issue of constitutional status of GB and raise the voice for rights with their Pen. we could never expect all this from our (So Called) political Leaders of GB, i mean to say pro-Punjab and pro-federal leader.

  2. The article has highlighted one side of the GB constitutional right. However, we can not separate the linkage of global law crisis that become the bases of this issue. It is not our political parties that control the region but the administrative or bureaucratic structure has hinder such as the appointment of chief Secretary or commissioners etc. The 99 % of educated serve the social sector rather be a part of the government to tackle the issue such as the ratio of CSS officers in our region that can resist the law for implementation. Similarly Baluchistan economic contribution to Pakistan could not be compare with Gilgit Baltistan such as the Silk Route can not handle the flow of commodity than the world second warm water route can. There are ways to tackle our status than to blame the nation in whole.

  3. Dear Mudabbir,

    Although i am not in your shoes right now but i know exactly how you feel. This is a moment of great misfortune that Gilgit Baltistan is still in a state of limbo towards its constitutional identity. I really wish all matters are resolved as i am great admirer of Gilgit Baltistan. It my utmost wish that our political leaders take up this matter seriously. Please also consider that you are as much Pakistani as other citizen.

  4. When so called assembly is elected by the people of GB and their leader is chosen from Islamabad and he is directly under one Federal Minister for Kashmir affairs then what is the worth of our votes.

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