By Muhammad Abul Hascham Barkhaya
Gilgit Baltistan (GB) is an incredibly beautiful land comprising approximately 2 million inhabitants with an area of about 74 thousand square kilometers. Soon after getting sovereign independence from the Dogra-raj under the indigenous leadership of Col. Mirza Hasan and Babur Khan in 1949, the then leadership handed over this priceless land to the newly born Muslim country Pakistan unconditionally, hoping that we will get all those rights that other Pakistani will enjoy in Pakistan.
From the last 70 years, the people of GB are loyal to Pakistan and their relation with Pakistan is an unnamed relation. From the borders of North (Siachen) to south and east to west our brave sons laid their lives for this homeland in every battlefield, Lalik Jaan (Nishan-e-Haider) is one clear example of that. However, unfortunately, the government of Pakistan retreated from every promise, linked us with the controversial Kashmir issue (which no one is interested to resolve anymore), and treated us as a third class citizens and deprived us of our basic fundamental rights.
The government of Pakistan is controlling this vast piece of land through presidential orders from the last 70 years. Now, it is enough the people of GB will not accept and tolerate any more injustice. A few days ago, the ex-chief justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan said that whatever we decide the people of GB should accept and be happy. Now, the people of GB will not let others to decide their fate. We the people of GB will decide on which things we have to be happy.
It is an undeniable reality that Pakistan need GB more than GB needs Pakistan. After the inauguration of CPEC, the importance of GB has increased one thousand times. China is no more neighbor country if we do not consider GB as a constitutional part of Pakistan so it is very important for the government of Pakistan to understand this fact and do something to compensate the grievances of these people. Do not exonerate the situation. It is in the benefit of none; give GB the rights, which they deserve.
In last 70 years, the government of Pakistan earned billions from the mighty mountains, forest, plateaus, rivers, lakes, minerals, glaciers of this heaven, and in return, they left us with poverty. It seems like we get independence from Sikh Dogra rule and now we are under the subjugation of Muslim Dogra. In a population of over 2 million people, there is no medical, engineering and any other professional university, no hospital, no roads for 80 percent of villages, no electricity even in major cities in winter (reports show that GB has the potential of 50000 Mw power generation capacity).
The biggest source of income in GB is government services. There is no factories, no industries, and no private sector employment because of which unemployment is rampage among youth. Most of the GB population comprises of youth, which means we have a great potential of the workforce. Now it is the responsibly of governments to utilize this potential otherwise this society dividend becomes society destruction.
The people of Gilgit-Baltistan’s hearts beat with Pakistan. From our childhood, we study the heroes of Pakistan in our textbooks and exemplifies them as our heroes. 70 percent of the population do not even know the heroes of GB, which is a clear example that people of GB want to be Pakistani so now it is the responsibility of Pakistani government whether they want to accept it or not. We want a name to this loyal relation. A relation without name breaks at the end so before reaching that threshold point, it is humbly requested to the prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan and other responsible individuals please consider GB and make it a constitutional part of Pakistan and add it in your NAYA PAKISTAN version before it gets too late.
The contributor is working as a researcher in Chung-Ang University Seoul, Republic of Korea. He belongs to GilgitBaltistan.