Sat. Jan 29th, 2022

Major Administrative Reforms in Gilgit-Baltistan: 1947-2018

Compiled by Zakir Ali Shakir

After the partition of sub-continent in 1947, the Gilgit Scouts revolted against the occupying forces of Kashmir and arrested the imposed tyrant governor. November 1st, 1947 saw the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Gilgit, with Shah Raees Khan has as its first President. The ill-fated state existed for only 15 day; the sovereign state, which was confined to present-day Gilgit district, and some other adjacent areas, decided to accede to the state of Pakistan, on the basis of Islamic identity.

The region was governed by a political agent initially, under the repressive FCR law, which treated the locals as subjects, and not as citizens. Since then, a number of reforms have been introduced in the region, of which a brief summary is being presented here for general knowledge.

    • The Karachi Agreement was signed on 28 April 1949, in which the Government of Pakistan took complete control of Gilgit-Baltistan, in connivance with Kashmir’s leaders who did not bother to take counsel from anyone in Gilgit-Baltstan.
    • In 1950 Federal Government established Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas refer as KANA.
    • Regional high court known as chief court was established in 1967. The same was upgraded to Supreme Appellate Court in 2005
    • The first Advisory council was established in 1970, consist of 16 members also given the name as Northern Areas (NA).
    • In 1974, major reforms were introduced by demolishing the FCR and Princely state (rajgiri) by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
    • In 1994 “Legal Framework ORDER “(LFO) was introduced by Benazir Bhutto
    • First ever Party based election were held in GB in 1994, and 24 members were elected as members of an Executive Council
    • Ghanche and Ghizer were made as District in 1994.
    • In 1999 executive council was i[graded into a legislative council by General Musharraf, with rights to legislate on 49 matters.
    • The “GB Empowerment and Self Government ORDER” was enforced in 2009 by Zardari as a President of Pakistan. The name Gilgit-Baltistan was also officially recognized in that order.
  • On June 2018, the “GB Reforms ORDER 2018” was promulgated by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, which promised ‘financial and administrative’ autonomy.
  • A large number of residents of the region along with the combined opposition in the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) rejected the order, because it concentrated all powers in the office of Prime Minister, who is not an elected representative of GB.
    Supreme Court restored the 2018 ordinance and said that it was the government’s responsibility to ensure that the people of GB are treated the same as the citizens of any other part of the country.
  • In 2019, Supreme Court of Pakistan declared the region to be disputed, and said that it cannot be made a constitutional part of Pakistan, till the resolution of Kashmir dispute. The court, however, directed the state to provide all fundamental and basic human rights to the region.

All  students are requested to study the region’s history and to focus on the genuine issues of Gilgit-Baltistan.

We demand an autonomous government in Gilgit-Baltistan. We want our chief ministers to be more powerful than the chief secretary and the minsters to have more power than Secretaries and Deputy Commissioners. We also want control on tourism, natural resources and budget revenue.

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