Sunday, 13 November 2016

Throwback to History and Current Status of Gilgit Baltistan

Baltis live within the less privileged mountainous region of Gilgit Baltistan, basically they are the part of the tribe living in Tibet. Fewer of them have been the inhabitants in Baltistan region since the very beginning. Baltis remained freedom fighters who fought for the right of freedom. It is quite essential to mention that these people did not get freedom as a consequence of sub-continent's partition. Instead of this they themselves fought for their homeland without any foreign aid. Unarmed civilians from Baltistan fought for the freedom and ousted Dogra Fouj.

During the supremacy of British in sub-continent, Gilgit Agency came into existence and appointment of political agent was made under lease agreement with Maha Raja Hari Singh of Kashmir. Before British, the region was ruled by local Rajas. People were living a prosperous lives in that contemporary era. Lives were spent in accordance with the teachings of Islam, people felt satisfied with what they had, later on, Dogra Raj brought brutality in the region during their “putrid” presence. People had an earnest desire to be the part of such a state where they could perform their religious duties freely without any fear.
After the partition within sub-continent, locals became much more passionate for independence as they were not considered part of party to either Pakistan or India. Dogra rulers were still rulers of these people. Such a moment as that was of amazement when people were expecting to have succession to Pakistan after British. Colonel Mirza Hassan led a (rebellion) in Gilgit and succeeded in getting rid of Dogra rulers on 1st November, 1947. Realizing their worth, unarmed civilians from Baltistan also led a war to attain their glory in the form of freedom.
Dearth of weapons did not hamper their way to freedom and people succeeded in throwing Dogra Fouj out of Baltistan. Their desire of dislodging Dogra Fouj became reality on 14th August 1948 with ousting of the foreigners. In the meanwhile representatives from Kashmir approached Muhammad Ali Jinnah to get succession and the leaders of the era gave an accent for unconditional request. Pakistan sent a political agent to Gilgit Agency. Gilgit Agency got accession to Pakistan on 1st January 1949 under Karachi Pact. (Pakistani state considered it disputed area and intertwined GB's fortunes with Kashmir. Though it did make any sense. A region that got independence and opted to accede with a state could not be considered a disputed area. GB was a straight forward case as Kashmir was not.)

According to my late father, part of NLI unit 7, NLI regiment fought in extreme conditions in Kargil war and despite of their sacrifices they were labeled as 'mujahideen' and 'militants' by General Pervaiz Musharraf. Warriors of NLI also participated in 1965 war. NLI has been contributing to maintain country's sovereignty in its true essence. Juma Khan who embraced martyrdom in Surgical Strikes is an evident example of love and sacrifice of the people for the country. 
Though there lies a confusion in the region whether this region is the part of Pakistan or not yet granting full provisional constitutional status will automatically eliminate the legal vacuum and reinforce the legitimacy of its linkage with Pakistan. This is important so that so India lays claim on the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir under its constitution. Astonishingly, even in the face of this impending threat, Pakistan remained unanswered regarding the status of GB. This ambiguity needs to be addressed urgently to avoid misconceptions and ready development within the locality, before the CPEC development is challenged by any adjudication forum.
As identity has always been disputatious and kept on changing under the discourse of time. The world has become a global village where only nations can stand high as an identity, instead of any organizational or biological group like caste. Concluding, the people are contributing much in the current state of affairs. 
                    Pakistan being the mother land of all Muslims of Indian subcontinent was found on an ideology favoring the golden Islamic principles of governance, social justices, equality and humanity. The ancestors and fore-fathers of the terrain fought for the cause of independence which they got after a long struggle. After bringing the great upheaval they rightly decided to get accession to Pakistan. Unfortunately this region still faces constitutional limbo and the disputed territory and constitutional integration with Pakistan is yet to be resolved. The real benefit of freedom can only be practiced after complete inception and succession. It is hoped that in future her legitimacy will be constitutionally supported under the constitution of Pakistan. It is an aggravating unrest type of situation and a long ignored question, this must be resolved as soon as possible before any mishap comes tragically or the consequences will demand much more grave concerns.

About Author:

Saleem Shigri.
Chief Financial Officer GSDNB. Studies Management Sciences at LUMS.
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