Rights, Expressions of Rights, and Identity Crisis of Gilgit-Baltistan

By Shahzaib Hassan 

A triumvirate of three points in the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018 has stirred a storm in my mind. It is a storm which is not going to see other points of the order as so to a reason that a reading of three first points has made me enslaved. If I read the other points or rather wholesome of the features of the order, I wound not be given the permission to write this article.

My arguments in the light of the order of 2018 are the ones which are being discussed already for so many times, but not listened thoroughly with the meticulous ears in order to ignoring the GB, its people and the royalty of the people because of the CPEC, One Belt, One Road (OBOR) program.

Fundamentally, I should ask where is my freedom to speak, my rights of the citizenship, and one quest which is very important, is my safety as per according to the constitution of Pakistan.

Whenever I ask my due rights at par with the citizens of other provinces of Pakistan, at times, I just plunged in the following points of order which are as under.

  • The government of Pakistan will oversee the management of Gilgit-Baltistan affairs through the federal prime minister instead of the GB Council as hitherto.
  • The prime minister will perform in relation to GB the functions assigned to the president of Pakistan. He will have the power to make laws for GB and a law made by him will override a law made by the territory’s legislature, now called GB Assembly, after deletion of the word ‘legislative’ from its title.
  • All Pakistanis recognized by the Pakistan Citizenship Act of 1951 as well as residents and those holding GB domicile will be citizens of the area (the only word used to describe GB, as the word ‘province’ is never used for it). This definition of citizenship will give Pakistanis from outside GB significant advantages over the natives.

In order to explain these following points which I have mentioned, are the points of my argument.

Firstly, it is necessary for any state to take control of any region viably and rightfully is through the process of learning of the people of the particular regions. It has never happened in the history that a state has ever get the satisfaction from the people by the strong infliction of power as it is a fact that overpowering in any place for keeping outright control of the place has always produce revolutions. Same is the case with GB. If a state of Pakistan wanted to control the people of GB and wants to have a fruits from CPEC road. State of Pakistan should have to remove their un-rightful control over the GB. They should not hold onto the people, neither power should be given to the prime minister of Pakistan to forms laws for GB. Rather, it is the right of people which they should have necessarily exercise in order to keep safety of not only the rights of self-determination but also it is important to sustain the sympathies with the state of Pakistan.

Furthermore, it is the ability to show an expressions of the self-determinations, is one way or other a totally constructive pillar of the inclusiveness of the state and it is the evident of the fact that, it creates a sense of hope in the citizens which as a result directly or indirectly benefits the state (Pakistan). Giving rights is as important as implementing a law. No law can be construed unless the people show a sign of expressions of their rights. If people of any regions being taken in the custody of state without giving them rights of self-determination , then riots, assault on the state authorities are the ultimately results .

Similarly, GB is the place, have always remained faithful to the state of Pakistan. It has played role with Pakistan on variety of occasions, for instance, GB has always provided a great brave and loyal solider to the protections of Pakistan. Not only this, the people of GB has fought three wars side by side with Pakistan against India. Above all, we have our best soldiers fighting in one of the world’s highest battleground such as Siachin. It is these sacrifices that people of GB are undauntedly giving for a reasons which is not based on any material achievements but rather it is these sacrifices, being given for a purpose which is solely in the benefits of Pakistan obviously the merger of Muslims of Gilgit-baltistan with their Muslims brother in Pakistan.

To add to this, If we are remained loyal in such a worst situation, doesn’t it is the responsibility of the state of Pakistan to add Gilgit-baltistan as a province?  Definitely, it is the right thing to do. Nonetheless, until now, GB is the part, which is not given any identity instead of its major help in the economic stability of Pakistan with the help of CPEC. Identity crisis in any region either it is GB or any other part of Pakistan, are serious threat for the state of Pakistan in the highway toward the process of national integration.

Moreover, during the last previous months a protest was occurred in the middle of the city of Gilgit which was namely known, no taxation without representations. It was such a protest having a nucleus solely containing a material of pure ideals that never ever in the world hardly a case, there is imposition of the tax, without even recognizing a place. So here we go, again it evokes a travesty and questions, if GB is not part of Pakistan, it is impossible sustaining a perpetual rule of law of Pakistan, upon the case of GB.

Conclusively, it is indispensable to mention that GB shouldn’t be muddled with the word, traitors. It should be given its due rights, whether it is the rights of self-determinations or the rights of provincial status, because it is a time almost up for Pakistan as different sorts of protest are paving path in to the mainstream political crisis of GB. More than this, it would not be wrong to say, that people of the indigenous region until get any action against their loyalty with Pakistan because of being exhausted of the orders like 2018. The state of Pakistan, should take some measure so that the rights of people, to exercise their politics, to decide their future and (their) due rights of citizenship, will be restored.

The writer is the student of political science and English literature of Forman Christian College Lahore.                               

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