Gilgit Baltistan

Yusuf

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Everyone talks about the alleged "atrocities" by Indian forces in Kashmir. All these talks comes from only across our border from the west. However there is an area called Gilgit Baltistan in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, now illegally occupied by Pakistan where there has been dissent from the time of independence itself. Nothing from that region comes out in the media as its shut off from the rest of the world, while all media attention is focussed on the alleged atrocities in Kashmir by India.

Amir Humza Qureshi says Northern Areas people facing more Human Rights Violations than anywhere else in the world

The part of the state of Jammu & Kashmir called the Northern Areas by Pakistan was annexed through an illegal attack in 1947 even before India and Pakistan became independent. This was possible due to the chicancery of the British who at that time controlled the two opposing armies. They ensured that the Pakistan flag was unfurled in Gilgit even before the British Government conferred independence on Pakistan. Ironically, the very Gilgit Scouts that unfurled the Pakistani flag in Gilgit, capital of the so-called Northern Areas, has long been disbanded because its Pakistani masters no longer trusted the people of Gilgit. While the legatees of those perfidious colonial Britishers continue to talk about justice for J&K, the people of the so-called Northern Areas continue to live in an area of utter political darkness. Even after 50 years of independence they remain a colonised people without the right to vote or exercise their democratic option in any other way. They remain shadowed in poverty and underdevelopment without recourse to basic human rights. The heirs of the same scoundrels who imprisoned Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last emperor of India, in Burma where he did not have two "gaz zameen" for his grave, have been enlisted by the illegitimate rulers of Pakistan to espouse the cause of Kashmir in international fora.

Pakistanis can only talk about elah - accession - and every Kashmiri group seeking help from Pakistan must promise to accede to Pakistan. Otherwise like the JKLF they will be killed and their sisters raped. This is the truth. And what is accession - it is to suffer the fate of the miserable millions in the so-called Northern Areas where even after 50 years, the Punjabi rulers and their agents continue to kill Muslims.

A prominent leader of Occupied Kashmir (only the Pakistani part of Kashmir can be considered occupied) has been abducted by the agencies and is currently under torture. His name is Shaukat Ali Kashmiri. Appeals by various individuals and organisations, including Amnesty International, have not secured his release. We appeal to you to write to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and ask him to take control of his dogs. But who will talk of all the others who have been silently killed by the Punjabis of Pakistan, who only see Gilgit as a good holiday resort? Much is happening in the last forgotten valleys of the so-called Northern Areas and by the grace of God the people of Northern Areas, shall find their destiny as a free people. They shall stand one day shoulder to shoulder with their brothers of Jammu & Kashmir and the followers of the great peers of this land, proud and free and masters of their own destiny.

Amir Humza Qureshi says Northern Areas people facing more Human Rights Violations than anywhere else in the world

Urdu daily Jasarat, the mouthpiece of the Jamaat-i-Islami, carried a long letter from emerging leader of Gilgit, Amir Humza Qureshi, rejecting the official propaganda about human rights violations in Indian side of Kashmir. "It is a fact that people of this region (northern areas) are facing more human rights violations and whenever the official media talks of repression in (Indian) Kashmir people with strong hearts laugh at this hypocritical attitude and people with weak hearts cry."
"India is not perpetrating even one hundredth part of the repression that people spread over an area of 28,000 miles have been facing for the past 50 years. The Indian Government has given people all their fundamental human rights and in spite of that they are in a state of confrontation against the government. But the people of this region (northern areas) are far behind the rest of the world in matters of fundamental human rights, justice and economic development."

The Pakistan Government says since northern areas are not a part of its territory it cannot give its people constitutional rights. But the people are not willing to stay like this anymore. The Balawaristan National Front (BNF) recently passed a resolution demanding autonomy for northern areas. Another party, the Muttehada Quami Party (MQP) wants a status like that of "Azad" Kashmir.

Shaukat Ali Kashmir Arrested & Tortured

Kashmiri political groups in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) have threatened state-wide agitation to press for the release of a pro-independence leader. Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, chairman of the United Kashmir People's National Party (UKPNP) based in POK, was picked up by men from the Pakistani security forces near Bagh on 18 January according to the Kashmir International Front (KIF) based here.
The London group is the international office for several political groups fighting Pakistani occupation of Kashmir. UKPNP secretary general Sardar Ishtiaq Hussain addressed a press conference in Bagh following the arrest of Shaukat Ali Kashmiri to warn of an agitation if the party leader is not released

The Kashmir International Front has sent SOS messages to several governments in Europe and to human rights institutions such as Amnesty International. The Geneve-based International Secretariat of the World Organisations Against Torture, which claims to be the largest network of human rights organisations in the world, has sent a letter of protest to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Its is ironic that the world is more worried about the falling trees; they are sad that our white leopard are vanishing day by day; the dead bodies of our Markhor frightens them; they are going all out to preserve our eco system.But nobody ever thinks of the people of this land," says Raja Hussain Khan Maqpoon, editor of K2, Gilgit-Baltistan's only newspaper, a weekly. The tinge of sarcasm in his comment is obvious in his publication too.

'This land' refers to Pakistan's Northern Areas, spread over 28,000 sq. miles with a population of two million, comprising Gilgit and Baltistan on the border of Azad Kashmir-a sensitive and strategic area from Pakistan point of view.

"They Have Never Trusted Us", says PoK Leader

'Sarzamin-Be-Ain Ki Awaz' (the voice of constitution-less land) flashes from K2 masthead, a brave attempt in a region where where everything is considered suspicious by the power-that-be. Even ordinary documents are jealously guarded an attempt by to get hold of the copies of the Northern Areas Council's (see fact files) Rules of Biasness, Rules of Procedure, Legal Framework and even their annual development plan (ADP) failed. Apparently, in the Northern Areas these Apparently documents. Elsewhere in the country, similarly documents are openly accessible.

From 1947 till 1972 the northern areas were governed by the FCR (Frontier Crimes Regulations), denying the locals even their basic rights. There is much resentment here at the fact the FCR remained in force 25 years after independence, until it was belatedly lifted by Z.A. Bhutto.

"They (the pakistan government) have never trusted us. From day one, that is , November 1, 1947, till now we cannot govern our own land. If we are given that right, they think all hell will break lose," says the fiery Amir Hamza, a resident of Gilgit and a former SSP of Gizr district.

Amir Hamza has been fighting for the rights of the people of Gilgit and Baltistan since his college days, 1967-71, when he and his friends formed Gilgit-Baltistan Jamhoori Mahaz. His family wanted him to join civil service but he knew he wont be happy there, being inclined towards politics. His party one point demand was: allow us participation in Pakistan National Assembly or give us status like Azad Kashmir Assembly. A demand for which Hamza was jailed various times in his youth.
Revolt Brewing in the so-called Northern Areas of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir
 

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A Brief History of Gilgit

“Jammu & Kashmir and especially Gilgit-Baltistan adjoins the Pashtun regions whose capital has been Peshawar. In August-November 1947, a British coup d’etat against J&K State secured Gilgit-Baltistan for the new British Dominion of Pakistan.

The Treaty of Amritsar had nowhere required Gulab Singh’s dynasty to accept British political control in J&K as came to be exercised by British “Residents” in all other Indian “Native States”. Despite this, Delhi throughout the late 19th Century relentlessly pressed Gulab Singh’s successors Ranbir Singh and Partab Singh to accept political control. The Dogras acquiesced eventually. Delhi’s desire for control had less to do with the welfare of J&K’s people than with protection of increasing British interests in the area, like European migration to Srinagar Valley and guarding against Russian or German moves in Afghanistan.

“Sargin” or “Sargin Gilit”, later corrupted by the Sikhs and Dogras into “Gilgit”, had an ancient people who spoke an archaic Dardic language “intermediate between the Iranian and the Sanskritic”. “The Dards were located by Ptolemy with surprising accuracy on the West of the Upper Indus, beyond the headwaters of the Swat River (Greek: Soastus) and north of the Gandarae (i.e. Kandahar), who occupied Peshawar and the country north of it. This region was traversed by two Chinese pilgrims, Fa-Hsien, coming from the north about AD 400 and Hsuan Tsiang, ascending from Swat in AD 629, and both left records of their journeys.”

Gilgit had been historically ruled by a Hindu dynasty called Trakane; when they became extinct, Gilgit Valley “was desolated by successive invasions of neighbouring rulers, and in the 20 or 30 years ending with 1842 there had been five dynastic revolutions. The Sikhs entered Gilgit about 1842 and kept a garrison there.” When J&K came under Gulab Singh, “the Gilgit claims were transferred with it, and a boundary commission was sent” by the British. In 1852 the Dogras were driven out with 2,000 dead. In 1860 under Ranbir Singh, the Dogras “returned to Gilgit and took Yasin twice, but did not hold it. They also in 1866 invaded Darel, one of the most secluded Dard states, to the south of the Gilgit basin but withdrew again.”

The British appointed a Political Agent in Gilgit in 1877 but he was withdrawn in 1881. “In 1889, in order to guard against the advance of Russia, the British Government, acting as the suzerain power of Kashmir, established the Gilgit Agency”. The Agency was re-established under control of the British Resident in Jammu & Kashmir. “It comprised the Gilgit Wazarat; the State of Hunza and Nagar; the Punial Jagir; the Governorships of Yasin, Kuh-Ghizr and Ishkoman, and Chilas”. In 1935, the British demanded J&K lease to them for 60 years Gilgit town plus most of the Gilgit Agency and the hill-states Hunza, Nagar, Yasin and Ishkuman. Hari Singh had no choice but to acquiesce. The leased region was then treated as part of British India, administered by a Political Agent at Gilgit responsible to Delhi, first through the Resident in J& K and later a British Agent in Peshawar. J& K State no longer kept troops in Gilgit and a mercenary force, the Gilgit Scouts, was recruited with British officers and paid for by Delhi. In April 1947, Delhi decided to formally retrocede the leased areas to Hari Singh’s J& K State as of 15 August 1947. The transfer was to formally take place on 1 August.

On 31 July, Hari Singh’s Governor arrived to find “all the officers of the British Government had opted for service in Pakistan”. The Gilgit Scouts’ commander, a Major William Brown aged 25, and his adjutant, a Captain Mathieson, planned openly to engineer a coup détat against Hari Singh’s Government. Between August and October, Gilgit was in uneasy calm. At midnight on 31 October 1947, the Governor was surrounded by the Scouts and the next day he was “arrested” and a provisional government declared.

Hari Singh’s nearest forces were at Bunji, 34 miles from Gilgit, a few miles downstream from where the Indus is joined by Gilgit River. The 6th J& K Infantry Battalion there was a mixed Sikh-Muslim unit, typical of the State’s Army, commanded by a Lt Col. Majid Khan. Bunji controlled the road to Srinagar. Further upstream was Skardu, capital of Baltistan, part of Laddakh District where there was a small garrison. Following Brown’s coup in Gilgit, Muslim soldiers of the 6th Infantry massacred their Sikh brothers-at-arms at Bunji. The few Sikhs who survived escaped to the hills and from there found their way to the garrison at Skardu.

On 4 November 1947, Brown raised the new Pakistani flag in the Scouts’ lines, and by the third week of November a Political Agent from Pakistan had established himself at Gilgit. Brown had engineered Gilgit and its adjoining states to first secede from J&K, and, after some talk of being independent, had promptly acceded to Pakistan. His commander in Peshawar, a Col. Bacon, as well as Col. Iskander Mirza, Defence Secretary in the new Pakistan and later to lead the first military coup détat and become President of Pakistan, were pleased enough. In July 1948, Brown was awarded an MBE (Military) and the British Governor of the NWFP got him a civilian job with ICI~ which however sent him to Calcutta, where he came to be attacked and left for dead on the streets by Sikhs avenging the Bunji massacre. Brown survived, returned to England, started a riding school, and died in 1984. In March 1994, Pakistan awarded his widow the Sitara-I-Pakistan in recognition of his coup détat.

Gilgit’s ordinary people had not participated in Brown’s coup which carried their fortunes into the new Pakistan, and to this day appear to remain without legislative representation. It was merely assumed that since they were mostly Muslim in number they would wish to be part of Pakistan ~ which also became Liaquat Ali Khan’s assumption about J&K State as a whole in his 1950 statements in North America. What the Gilgit case demonstrates is that J&K State’s descent into a legal condition of ownerless anarchy open to “Military Decision” had begun even before the Pakistani invasion of 22 October 1947 (viz. “Solving Kashmir”, The Statesman, 1-3 December 2005). Also, whatever else the British said or did with respect to J & K, they were closely allied to the new Pakistan on the matter of Gilgit.”

Posted in Afghanistan, Asia and the West, Britain in India, British foreign policy, Dogras, Gilgit and Baltistan, Himalayas, Imperialism, India's History, India's Muslims, India's Partition, India-Pakistan peace process, International Law, International politics, Jammu & Kashmir, Land and political economy, Pakistan in international law, Pakistan's history, Pakistan, Balochistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistani expansionism, Sikhs, Swat River.
A Brief History of Gilgit Independent Indian: Work & Life of Dr Subroto Roy
 

Yusuf

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Attached is a research paper that was published in Dawn Lifestyle Edition of December 11, 2004 with the title ‘Northern Areas Cry for Help’. In order to fulfill the requirements of newspaper its academics parts were
removed. For readers I am including academic sections of the paper in this version. This paper was written in March 2001. Therefore, some of the observations might not reflect the dominant discourse regarding
role of political Islam in post 9/11 period.
The writer holds MSc in Philosophy of Social Science from London School of Economics and Political
Science.
 

Yusuf

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Historical facts about Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan

London, May 20 (ANI): The composite dialogue process between India and Pakistan has completed three rounds, and has entered the fourth, confusion still prevails among the general public about whether Kashmir remains a part of the Two-Nation Theory or not, and about the status of Gilgit and Baltistan.

According to Dr. Shabir Choudhry, Chairman, Diplomatic Committee of the London-based Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), this anamoly is mainly because of the propaganda emanating from communal thinking Pakistani writers and pro-Pakistani lobby, which don't want to see an alternative view.

In an effort to show the true factual position of these regions, Dr Choudhry has provided some historical backgrounder on it.

Whether it is liked or not, the fact is that the Maharaja Gulab Singh was the founder of the State of Jammu and Kashmir toward the end of the British Empire's duration in India. Of course, the history of Kashmir is much older than this, which has remarkable periods of glory and prosperity, but it was never called the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Before Akbar the Great invaded Kashmir in 1586, Kashmir had its own empire and history going back 5000 years, though its geography changed from time to time.

Mughal rule was ended by Afghans in 1752. They ruled Kashmir from 1752 to 1819, and thereafter, the Sikhs ruled it from 1819 to 1846. The British East India Company defeated King Daleep Singh and signed the Treaty of Lahore on March 9, 1846.

Apart from the territory, the East India Company received 15 million rupees from the Sikh ruler, but still, under Article 4 of the Treaty demanded expenses for the war. The Sikh ruler was unable to pay any more money but agreed to cede all his forts and territories and interests in the region. Gulab Singh saw an opportunity to benefit from this situation and bargained to pay in return for territory.

Gulab Singh was the Raja of Jammu- not Jammu province as it was before the partition, as some areas were not under his control and these rulers were autonomous in their own right. Because of his role in the Second Sikh war (1846), the British rewarded him with Kashmir, which was part of the Sikh empire at that time. The price agreed in the Treaty of Amritsar was 7.5 million rupees (£375,000), and Gulab Singh and Governor General H Hardinge's representatives F Currie and Henry Montgomey Lawerance signed it on March 16, 1846.

It must be noted that Kashmir was not sold, as it existed at the time of partition, 1947: Province of Jammu, Kashmir and Frontier Province. Parts of Jammu, parts of Gilgit and Baltistan and even some areas of the province of Kashmir were not part of this sale deed, for example, Muzaffarabad was conquered by the Maharaja in 1854; and parts of Gilgit and Baltistan were invaded before the Amritsar Treaty.

One needs to understand the political situation of that time- there were small chieftains in various areas who were not independent in the sense we understand it now, but they had independence and a free hand to rule their areas. They allied themselves with major powers of the time. Areas of Hunza, Nagar, Yasin etc and even some areas of Jammu province were in that category.

The war continued in the areas what we now know as Gilgit and Baltistan, at times Maharaja Gulab Singh even losing Gilgit and after some month or years re - taking some of the areas back; and as this did not pose a serious threat to the interests of the British so they let it happen. Apart from that they were busy sorting out revolt of 1857, known as Indian Mutiny, and Maharaja of Kashmir and other Rajas helped them in this. Diversion of resources meant local chieftains could raise their heads again. But after Russian advances in Central Asia, especially after a small attack in Chitral the British decided to defeat these rulers Hunza, Nagar etc. themselves.

In order to keep an eye on the Russian advance, the British established a permanent base in Gilgit and Baltistan, and with consent or understanding of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, as he was known.

What needs to be understood is that by the turn of the century, these areas were legally and constitutionally part of Maharaja's Kashmir. As a threat of the Soviet Russia became more real the British leased areas of Gilgit and Baltistan from the Maharaja on 29 March 1935 for the period of sixty years.

It must be noted here that entire areas of Gilgit and Baltistan were not leased, as is commonly understood; area of 1480 sq miles from Gilgit Agency was leased. Total area of Gilgit Agency is 14680 sq miles, and total area of that province: Gilgit and Baltistan, and Ladakh were 63554 sq miles.

Article 1 of the Lease agreement stated: The Viceroy and Governor General of India may at any time after ratification of this agreement assume the civil and military administration of so much of the Wazarat of Gilgit Gilgit Province) hereinafter referred to as the 'Said territory') of the Jammu and Kashmir as lies beyond the right bank of the river Indus, but notwithstanding anything in this agreement the said territory shall continue to be included within the domain of His Highness the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir'.

What this meant was that:

These areas would still be part of the State; State flag would still fly over official buildings; On national days or religious festivals would be celebrated in line with customs and traditions of the state; Mining rights were still bestowed to the Maharaja; During all this Maharaja's officials stayed there.

Ownership or legal status doesn't change just because some thing was leased to someone. In any case, these areas were returned to the Maharaja, two weeks before the lapse of paramountcy. The British Raj in India ended on 15th August 1947, and the Maharaja Hari Singh appointed Brigadier Gansara Singh as a Governor of these areas. He reached Gilgit to take control of these areas on 1st of August 1947. The power at that time was with the British and Gilgit Scouts who were established and controlled by them. Brigadier Gansara Singh was accepted as a Governor but was not allowed to assert full control; rather he was advised to be cautious and wait until situation is stable.3

However, Gilgit Scouts arrested Brigadier Gansara Singh after the rebellion on November 1, 1947. One theory is that Gilgit Scouts only acted on advice of some 'outsiders' (as they wanted control of these areas to keep an eye on communist activities) to take this action once it was known that Tribesmen (who attacked on behest of Pakistani authorities) have failed to take over Srinagar, and if the Maharaja government survives under the patronage of India then these strategically very important areas would go to the Maharaja, hence India.

Pakistani contention is that after the 'liberation' these areas acceded to Pakistan, but do not offer any evidence in support of this. If that accession took place soon after the 'liberation', as Pakistan now claims, then technically they had become a part of Pakistan; then question arises why make them part of the Kashmir dispute and plebiscite which could have gone against Pakistan. The fact is that no accession took place. One may ask who signed on behalf of the people of Gilgit and Baltistan, and who signed on behalf of Pakistan and where is the document- Instrument of Accession?

The Pakistani governments have always been inconsistent with the Kashmir dispute. Their other claim is that areas of Hunza and Nagar acceded to Pakistan. These areas were legally part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and did not have separate legal and constitutional existence; hence Rulers of these principalities had no right to accede to any other country. It is like Governor of Punjab (which is part of Pakistan) claiming that I have acceded to India; or Head of Wales Assembly, which is part of United Kingdom, claiming that I have acceded to France.

It is interesting to note that the Government of Pakistan in a meeting held on March 4, 1949 at the residence of the Prime Minister, decided not to take any action on these alleged 'accessions', as they thought this would prejudice their case on the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir. They thought if plebiscite takes place, and people of Hunza and Nagar are not part of this plebiscite then outcome could go against them.

UNCIP Representative General AGL McNaughton in his report wrote that these areas should also be part of demilitarisation process

Pakistani constitutions of 1956, 1962 and 1973 do not regard G&B as part of Pakistan; and accept that these areas are part of the State.

Pakistan signed (Mushtaq Ahmed Gurmani, Minister without Portfolio signed on behalf of Pakistan) the Karachi Agreement in 1949 with leaders of Azad Kashmir and Sardar Ibrahim Khan (President of AJK) and Choudhry Ghulam Abbas (Supreme Head of Muslim Conference) in which (under section A 8) it was made clear that these areas were part of the State.

AJK leaders had no right to speak on behalf of people of these areas, and leave them at the mercy of government of Pakistan. Muslim Conference had no branches and no right to sign this treaty with Pakistan.

Similarly, Pakistan had no right to transfer area (around 2000 sq miles) of Gilgit and Baltistan to China on March 2, 1963. However, Sino-Pakistan Border Agreement once again accepted that these areas were part of the State, as article 6 of the document reads:

'The two parties have agreed that after the settlement of the Kashmir dispute between Pakistan and India, the sovereign authority concerned will reopen negotiations with the Government of the Peoples Republic of China on the boundary as described in Article Two of the present agreement, so as to sign a formal boundary treaty to replace the present agreement, provided that in the event of the sovereign authority being Pakistan, the provisions of the present agreement and the aforesaid protocol shall be maintained in the formal boundary treaty to be signed between the Peoples Republic of China and Pakistan.' 6

In Ganga Hijacking case (1970/71), Attorney General of Pakistan Yayya Bakhtiar while speaking to a Special Court established under Justice Yaqub, said, that Gilgit and Baltistan weare not part of Pakistan and that they have only temporarily taken administration of these areas.

All the writers of that era and up till 1970s, including Lord Birdwood (author of 'Two Nations Kashmir'), Guru Raj Roy, (author of Legal aspects of Kashmir problem'), Joseph Korbel, (author of 'Danger in Kashmir', Alistair Lamb, (author of many books on Kashmir), Prem Nath Bazaz, Justice Saraf etc all agree that these areas were part of the state.

When martial law was declared in Pakistan in 1958, it was not extended to Gilgit and Baltistan, because rulers of that time did not regard it as a part of Pakistan, and the same happened in 1968. But when Pakistan army invaded its own capital again in 1977, it was decided to extend Martial law to G&B as well.

Despite this, when in 1981 a petition was filed (RP No 5961) in Lahore High Court (Pakistan) by Dilawar Shah of Gilgit, Justice Dr Javed Iqbal and Justice SMH Qureshi unanimously said that these areas were not legally part of Pakistan, hence Pakistani laws were not applicable there.

In a famous case about the status of Gilgit and Baltistan, Chief Justice Abdul Majid Malik of Azad Kashmir High Court ruled that these areas were part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and that they were not Pakistan's Northern Areas, as claimed by Pakistan. 7

If these areas were not part of Pakistan up till that time then one may ask what had changed after that. Has there been any plebiscite or any other legal or constitutional change, which affects the legal status of these areas? Perhaps they wanted to compensate for losses they suffered in East Pakistan by annexing G&B. In East Pakistan they lost around 57000 sq miles, G&B is more than 28,000 sq miles and AJK is more than 4000 sq miles. So, not too bad for Pakistan if they some how can get away with taking these areas.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered the government to make necessary amendments in the Constitution to ensure that the people in the 'Northern Areas' enjoy fundamental rights, namely to be governed by their chosen representatives, and to have access to justice and fundamental rights under the Constitution.

Chief Executive of Gilgit and Baltistan is always a member of National Assembly of Pakistan, a non-local person, who becomes a minister of Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas. However some commentators claim that like General Officer Commanding (GOC), Murree for so called Azad Jammu Kashmir Government who holds real power; the real power is in the hands of Corps Commander 10 Corps, Chaklala, Rawalpindi.

Everybody who matters in Gilgit-Baltistan is either from the military background or non-local civilian bureaucratic elite, which treats the areas as a colony.

State property in Pakistan

After independence in 1947, the properties belonging to the State of Jammu and Kashmir (or Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir or Maharaja of Poonch), located outside its territorial jurisdiction of Jammu and Kashmir were taken over by the AJ&K Government, and a Manager was appointed to manage the property. The Punjab government started treating the property as Evacuee Property, and placed them under the charge of Provincial Rehabilitation Department. Legal and Administrative difficulties arose in the management and maintenance of the property; as such in June 1955 the AJ&K Government requested the Government of Pakistan to take over the management of the property forthwith.

The Government of Pakistan streamlined the administration of the property by promulgating an Ordinance namely Jammu and Kashmir (Administration of Property) Ordinance 1961. By virtue of this Ordinance the entire immovable property situated in the territory of Pakistan that belonged to the State of Jammu and Kashmir (or Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir or Maharaja of Poonch) on 15th August 1947 was deemed to have been vested in the Federal Government on that date. 8

The AJK government or people of AJK do not benefit from this property or its income, which is believed to be worth hundreds of million pounds. Like other resources of AJK and G&B government of Pakistan is benefiting from these properties; and AJK government and officials are now too scared to even make a demand about this.

In view of devastating earth quake and enormous suffering of the people, government of Pakistan must be asked to divert those resources to help these suffering people.

It must also be noted that Chitral was part of State of Jammu and Kashmir at the time of lapse of British Paramountcy on 15th August 1947. In 1873 Mahtar (Ruler) of Chitral acknowledged the suzerainty of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, and through him accepted sovereignty of the British.

Pakistan annexed Chitral and for the first showed it as a territory of Pakistan in the Constitution of 1973. Similarly huge parts of Shandur to Punial were part of disputed Gilgit Wazarat. But today not many people know or speak about status of these Kashmiri areas; and Pakistani officials hope that with time people will forget about status of Gilgit and Baltistan as well.

However, true nationalists of Jammu and Kashmir and especially nationalist from areas of Gilgit and Baltistan are determined to continue with their struggle to get these areas back from Pakistan. Some nationalists from Gilgit and Baltistan believe that 'Balawaristan (old name for the area) comprising Gilgit-Baltistan, Chitral, Sheenaki, Kohistan, Ladakh and Kargil.
Sawf News : Historical facts about Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan
 

Ray

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What is happening in the Northern Areas is not anything new.

In a Sunni majority country, the Shias will always be discriminated.

In fact, a Pakistani MP had stated that Shias are Kaffirs and should be labelled so. I do not have the link.
 

Yusuf

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Sir,
Its more than the Shia Sunni divide here.
There is more history than that there.
In the entire issue of Kashmir and its settlement, no one talks of this area which has been under Pakistani control against the wishes of the people. In India, the Kashmiris have all the rights as Indians and are given all the freedom. There is none such available to the people of Gilgit Baltistan. Nobody hears their voices. Neither has the Indian government done anything when Pakistan claims human rights violation in Indian Kashmir.
 

I-G

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Pakistani president signs Gilgit-Baltistan autonomy order
2009-09-07 12:54:54 GMT2009-09-07 20:54:54 (Beijing Time) xinhuanet

ISLAMABAD, Sept. 7 (Xinhua) -- President Asif Ali Zardari on Monday signed the Gilgit-Baltistan Internal Autonomy Ordinance 2009,allowing the region to exercise its political dependence, local TV channel ARY News reported.

In its special meeting Aug. 29, Pakistan's federal cabinet approved the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009, which would be implemented through a presidential ordinance.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani earlier said that replacing the Northern Areas Governance Order 1994, Gilgit-Baltistan had been proposed as the new official name of the Northern Areas where a governor would be appointed by the president to represent the federation.

Besides changing its nomenclature to Gilgit Baltistanr, the government aimed at giving the Northern Areas full internal autonomy, local media reported.

Gilani said the Chief Minister of the region will be elected by the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly, who will be assisted by six ministers.

The Northern Areas is the northernmost part of Pakistan. It became a single administrative unit in 1970 under the name "Northern Areas." With its administrative center at the town of Gilgit, Gilgit Baltistan covers an area of 72,971 square kilometers and has an estimated population of 1,000,000.

Pakistani president signs Gilgit-Baltistan autonomy order - World News - SINA English

What really GoP is trying to do by this ?
 

Yusuf

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It's trying it's luck in pacifying the discontent there.
 

Yusuf

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Some old and relatively new reports but increasingly relevant considering the times esp Chinese setting base in GB
 

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