JUSTICE(r) MUZAFFAR ALI
India never ever, in history had territorial jurisdiction over the Gilgit-Baltistan. The region always happened to be fortified by mighty mountains and numerous high peaks provided the inhabitants immunity from external aggression, area remained cut-off from outside world for centuries immemorial. Local rajas ruled over. It was in the first half of 19th century, when Sikh rulers of Kashmir made several attacks to conquer the region. Local chieftains encountered the attacks but finally Maharaja Kashmir conquered the area after a series of bloody wars, and established his sovereignty over there. Later, the British government shared the sovereignty over with Maharaja up to the year 1947.
Locals never accepted sovereignty of Maharaja but awaited a chance; they got it in the year 1947, fought against, defeated the enemy forces and established their own sovereign state for fifteen days and then invited the government to annex the region into Pakistan.
Above precise historical background clarifies the fact that GB has never remained an integral part of the territory which was declared Indian by the British government as result of partition and recognized international boundary between India and Pakistan. Yes, Gilgit-Baltistan was conquered by the Maharaja, but the locals reclaimed their mother land forcefully from the Maharaja’s occupation, just like the united India got it from the British rulers.
Indian army occupied held Kashmir, in violation of the partition formula, mutually accepted by Pakistan and India, with a false plea of accession of Kashmir into India by the Maharaja Kashmir. India failed to occupy Gilgit-Baltistan even after applying its infantry, as well as despite of the air strikes against the freedom fighter of GB. Local forces stood like an iron wall against the Maharaja and the Indian army, gained victory, and then acceded with Pakistan.
Keeping in view the above historical facts, present plea of India about GB is ridiculous, awkward and offensive. We the people of Gilgit-Baltistan strongly condemn the plea and if plea is given weight, then the British government even today can claim her sovereignty over India and Pakistan and a lot of examples in this regard may be quoted, which definitely cause complexities in the world. The universal truth is that, “an aggressor is always an aggressor,” no legal title can be demanded by an aggressor rather the aggression is against the “UNO’s charter” and also against the “universal declaration of international human rights”, that is why America and the other members of united nations attacked Iraq when it occupied Kuwait and compelled the Iraq to quit.
Would that, the governments in Pakistan do not take care of the wishes and the loyalty of GBians and always give oxygen to India to take fresh breath to mislead the international community, wrongly claiming Gilgit-Baltistan her integral part. International community gives less attention towards the atrocities of Indian army against the indigenous liberation movement in held Kashmir but more in favor of bogus and twisting claims of India.
Security institutions in Pakistan are required to seriously calculate the geostrategic importance of gilgit-baltistan and also respect the patriotic feelings of GBians, they need to come into a final conclusion about the fate and the role of GBians in Pakistan, after taking all the stake holders, including the people of Gilgit-Baltistan into confidence. The manners of government to take interim decisions in respect of Gilgit-Baltistan will be injurious for the integrity of Pakistan.
Outgoing government of Muslim league (N) in federation and the government in Gilgit-Baltistan likewise other governments pledged with people of Gilgit-Baltistan to determine the legal status and also to give them full executive/legislative powers and to establish an independent judiciary guaranteed by the constitution of Pakistan but failed, few days ago the government introduced an executive Order again surprisingly getting consent of “National Security Committee” but the GBians rejected the same. Started protest against with the slogans that “Order upon Order” is rejected, “we want Pakistan but with constitutional status” “we are not slaves but citizens of Pakistan” etc .The Indian government tried to turn the situation in her favour by issuing a statement otherwise. We the GBians want to send a clear message to the India that, “Pakistan is our goal”. We reaffirm to extend our moral support to the oppressed Kashmir’s in held Kashmir for their liberation.
Government of Pakistan must realize that, much water has flowed from River Indus since 1947, a nation can be made fool for some times but not for all times by giving lollipops. In the year 1947 partition of Hindustan has given birth to a new Islamic state like all Muslims in sub-continent our ancestors also dreamed Pakistan despite living far-flung, and having no road approach, chosen Pakistan for accession after liberation. Seven decades have been passed, even today their descendants love Pakistan and want Pakistan but as free citizens of Pakistan with full rights and obligations at par to the citizens living in other provinces. At the same time GBians are conscious of Kashmir issue as such they demand; (a) amendment in constitution of Pakistan to add a provision as India has added into its constitution to give a system to hold Kashmir, (b) provisional province till solution of the Kashmir issue, (c) an interim constitution as given to the Azad Kashmir, otherwise executive Orders will be always rejected and protested against.
The contributor is a retired judge of the Supreme Appellate Court, Gilgit-Baltistan. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org