A Scandinavian psychologist, Erik Erickson came forth with a psychosocial developmental theory that made an indelible mark on developmental psychology. Today this theory of psychosocial development is deemed as one of the most influential and effervescent theories of personality. According to Erickson, human development is not limited to a certain time zone only but continues throughout one’s life.
Per Mr. Erickson there are 8 stages of transformation but the one that struck the nodes of my interest most is: Identity vs role Confusion because we the populace of Gilgit-Baltistan have dwelled in this miserable state of purgatory since the day our ancestors offered an unconditional accession to Pakistan.
Identity vs role confusion is a very interesting chapter in personality development as most of us have been past this stage of change of course. This phase occurs between the ages of 12 and 18 years, the time when children enter the realm of adolescence. During this time, adolescents develop a sense of self and explore their freedom. Teens seeking their own space, quarreling with parents for more autonomy and time with pals may be the right examples of this phase of change.
Soon after GB was redeemed from the notorious Dogra rule GB established itself as an independent republic with its first ever head of state, Mr. Shah Raees but sadly due to a lack of resources and expertise this small kingdom could last only a couple of weeks.
The successful transition of this 5th stage of development ensures development of a strong sense of self that will remain throughout life and a vibrant identity is crafted that defines a person for who he is and will be in future.
After Pakistan took over the administrative reigns of GB the first boon it endowed upon the inhabitants was FCR (Federal Crimes regulation) rule. A part of blame goes on behalf of Gbians who had vowed unconditional fidelity to the state. This in return gave the state to manage the matters pertaining to GB with absolute impunity. Later in order to tilt the Kashmir seesaw in their favor Pakistan amalgamated GB with Kashmir. Ironically there was not a single soul from GB that could voice its concerns over GB’s future in Karachi pact 1952 according to which GB was again placed in the same plate as Kashmir.
Historically GB that comprised of sub-states was partially invaded by Dogra in 17-18th century. Sultanates of Gilgit, Ghizer, Skardu, Astore, Diamer were invaded by Dogra whereas Hunza and Nagar state put up a hostile resistance and repelled many attempts of Dogra forces. These two states fell only in 1891 when British forces aided by Dogras ended their resistance. Later the Mirs of Hunza and Nagar were reinstated as they had pledged their loyalty to crown
It is acceptable to almost all the residents of GB that it was under Dogra Raj but later won its freedom in 1948 and declared itself as an independent state which according to Gbians now nullifies the claim of Kashmiri counterparts that GB is an integral part of Kashmir. It should be known that Dogras came only in 17th century AD whereas GB had been ruled by its own lords since centuries prior. So the Kashmiri claim here seems illogical and sentimental. Even the 1952 Karachi pact can be taken as an instance where the fate of GB was marginalized miserably.
Gilgit-Baltistan as an independent sovereign state annexed itself conditionally to Pakistan in hope that they would be treated as equal citizens of the state but despite seven decades of shear fidelity northern folk are yet to be bought under constitution.
Many reforms and packages have been introduced over the years like the Gilgit-Baltistan self-governance accord 2009 that have only turned out to be old wine in new bottle as GB has limited powers. Core commanders, IGP police, Chief Secretary and top bureaucratic brass have been non-locals till date. This creates a sense of social injustice and depravity among the northern folk and puts them in an emotional turmoil of identity crises that thwarts their social role and puts them in deep confusion.
The societies or individuals who do not (or are not let) to craft their identities become ghosts. They do not know who they are and are not sure of their intentions. This leaves them miserably confused. People of GB have dwelled in this state of Identity crisis and role confusion since 7 decades and imagine what affects has it cast on the young educated and politically sensitive young men and women of GB.
China eyes CPEC jealously and this is not just an economic corridor for Beijing but its short cut of becoming the world’s number one super power. Islamabad must be aware that its northern territories are still disputed and these hot waters could inundate its plans if not addressed in time. GB has no visible stake in mega 46 billion dollar project and Beijing insistence of resolving the status of GB is a clear cut indication of its seriousness for this project because China cannot afford to invest in an already disputed terrain.
Recently there is news that Astore and Skardu would be granted an observer status in parliament where as other districts would be granted proper seats. This move according to many is an attempt to placate the Kashmiri leadership as well as keep its stake in the cause of Kashmir. Skardu and Astore have already threatened of dire consequences of their excommunication from this grand scheme so it is now for the government to decide and find a common ground to evade this political blizzard.
Gilgit-Baltistan is languishing in obscurities of constitutional inferiority which has caused the people of this region to become mired in an identity crisis and confusion. It is evident from the views of Gbians on social media that they feel neglected, betrayed and ignored by Islamabad. If the legitimate demands of the northern clans are not addressed it will have dire circumstances due to its strategic value and immense potential.
Let’s hope for the best.