Islamabad: With the nation going to polls on the 25th of July, almost all political parties have announced their manifestos, outlining their political, economic and social vision, and also laying down plans and programmes to materialize it. While most of the points, simply put, is un-achievable extol, there are some points in almost all manifestos that, if implemented, can have tangible impact on the state, and the society.
Residents of Gilgit-Baltistan, a region grappling with issues of identity and constitutional deprivations, are interested in knowing each party’s vision and plans for the region.
Ironically, the citizens of Gilgit-Baltistan cannot vote for candidates of the National and Provincial Assembly, but the party’s vision for the region can be gauged easily.
While there are many parties contesting elections, the manifestos of the three top are being considered for this report.
Here’s a summary, based on electronic copies of the manifestos available online:
PMLN has highlighted the Govt of GB Order 2018 as an indication of its performance. However, the fact is that the Order is currently suspended, and thousands of people protested against it before and after its implementation.
The GB Order 2018 failed to impress the locals, because it gave sweeping powers to the Prime Minister, who is not elected by the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. Under the suspended order, the PM can throw the legislation passed the GB Assembly into dustbin, without being held accountable by any court. For this reason, the Govt of GB Order 2018 soon was dubbed as the GB Emperor Order by local writers and thinkers.
Pakistan Peoples Party has discussed the issues of GB in detail in its manifesto, while also highlighting some plans for the future. People are skeptical, however, because PPP was in power in the past, and failed to deliver most of what it has promised. In fact, PPP’s government in Gilgit-Baltistan failed miserably to control the law and order situation.
PPP calls the GB Empowerment Order a historic document, but the fact is that it was an eye-wash attempt which practically turned the assembly into a powerless and toothless body constantly under the thumb of the GB Council, which PPP promises to abolish in the future.
PTI has added a paragraph about Gilgit-Baltistan, acknowledging the “commitment” of the region’s residents to Pakistan. It promises to give an autonomous assembly to the region. It is unclear, however, if PTI wants to empower the assembly under the 18th amendment, or create a completely autonomous assembly.