By Justice (r) Muzaffar Ali
Political leadership of Azad Kashmir launched a campaign just after, the federal government included a point of “Provisional Provincial Status for Gilgit-Baltistan” in agenda of the cabinet meeting to approve. This adverse attitude in Azad Kashmir is not new or surprising for people of Gilgit-Baltistan. Same is historically evident that, whenever, any government in Pakistan intends to introduce some fundamental reforms for Gilgit-Baltistan, such like mala fide unrest is created therein. In fact, the political leaders of AJ&K are more ambitious to conquer Gilgit-Baltistan rather to struggle for liberation of occupied Kashmir from India.
The federal government kept the people of Gilgit-Baltistan under a colonial system, from the day first of its liberation; by imposing FCR (the black law) depriving them of human rights but the political leaders of Azad Kashmir did not object and let the bureaucratic system to be continued therein. Zia ul haq imposed Martial law and declared Gilgit-Baltistan zone ‘E’ while no Martial law was extended to Azad Kashmir but the Kashmiri leadership have never claimed “The Declaration” to be injurious to the Kashmir issue, they launched no protest against and remained mum.
Bureaucrats through their intrigues succeeded to suspend “State Subject Rules” in Gilgit-Baltistan and paved a way to all cadres of bureaucrats to rule therein, while the people of Azad Kashmir still enjoying “State Subject Rules”. The political leadership in Azad Kashmir launches no protest against, while suspension of “State Subject Rules” was a violation apparently of Kashmir issue.
People of Azad Kashmir have their own Interim Constitution under “ACT VIII OF 1974” getting benefit of Article 257 of constitution of Pakistan, having their own judicial system. All judges therein including, chief justices, are being appointed from local legal fraternity. They have their own parliament, having their own executive system, while people of Gilgit-Baltistan are being continuously ruled by “Executive Orders” providing a subservient judiciary with a thoroughfare to appoint judges and chief judges from all over Pakistan. Political leadership of Azad Kashmir has shown no concern against this discrimination as they are least concern about agony of Gbians.
Few days ago, a leader of Azad-Kashmir gave a news statement and opposed “Interim Provincial Status” holding Gilgit-Baltistan to be indivisible unit of state of Jammu & Kashmir ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh. Quoting of Maharaja Hari Singh in his statement, amounts to favor the false version of India that, Maharaja Hari Singh had signed an accession deed with India while Pakistan denies this false claim and articulates its version internationally that, Indian army forcefully, in violation of partition agenda, entered into Kashmir against the will of local populous. Further when one loyal person to Pakistan reads his statement coupled with, the second Para of Interim Constitution of Azad Kashmir, which excludes Gilgit-Baltistan from liberated territories of the state of Jammu & Kashmir, naturally strikes his mind that, there is something wrong in the bottom.
Kashmiri leaders have threatened a long-march towards Islamabad to resist and defy the federal government’s plan to give Gilgit-Baltistan a “Provisional Provincial Status”. They are at liberty to do so but they are requested to arrange a long-march towards Srinagar or New Delhi for the liberation of Jammu and Kashmir state from forceful occupation of Indian army and we GBians make assure that, we will hand in hand with them in their long-march towards Srinagar or new Delhi to strengthen the indigenous struggle of oppressed people of held Jammu and Kashmir as, at present they have stand for their liberation and scarifies their lives, facing atrocities of Indian army.
Indeed, Dogra regime ruled Gilgit-Baltistan by conquering the region since 1846, but the locals stood against the invaders indigenously, liberated their motherland in 1948. GBians are proud of their successful armed struggle against Dogra regime. Political leaders of Azad Kashmir to mind it that, GBians have liberated their motherland without any help of tribesmen from tribal areas of Pakistan. Political leadership of Azad Kashmir must think about the fact that, they perhaps, unintentionally strengthen the policy of Indian government as recently Indian army chief has given a statement likewise and has warned Pakistan government to refrain from change the status of Gilgit-Baltistan otherwise to meet dire consequences thereupon.
Stunning that, how a “Provisional Province” of GB, if established after introducing an amendment into Article 257 of constitution of Pakistan, can be a violation of UNO resolutions or injurious to Kashmir issue, while people of Azad Kashmir are enjoying their fundamental rights, having a parliamentary system in Azad Kashmir by application of the same article and likewise the Indian government rules over occupied Kashmir by applying Article 370 of their constitution.
Last but not the least, the leadership in Azad Kashmir must keep in view the geo-political importance of Gilgit-Baltistan and abandon their hostile attitude towards. A prosperous Pakistan requires addressing of the grievances of GBians which are being felt by the educated youth of Gilgit-Baltistan bitterly and if present government has decided to take a bold step in respect of Gilgit-Baltistan, then the government must be facilitated. The GBians are hopeful that, the present government, headed by the dynamic leadership of Imran khan, would not bother to such impediments and will proceed towards its aim to establish a “provisional province” of Gilgit-Baltistan.
The contributor is a retired judge of the Supreme Appellate Court of Gilgit-Baltistan. He can be reached at Muzaffaralibagoro266@gmail.com