Multi-party conference titled “The unresolved Status of Gilgit-Baltistan”

Political parties in Gilgit-Baltistan on Sunday sought rights and protection under the constitution of Pakistan in the pattern of Azad Jammu and Kashmir during a conference held in Gilgit.

At the daylong multi-party conference titled “The unresolved Status of Gilgit-Baltistan” was organised by PPP at a hotel the political parties argued that Gilgit-Baltistan should be given rights and protections under the Constitution of Pakistan, on the pattern of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The APC also demanded of  the government of Pakistan to take the GB on board while executing China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and noted that CPEC) agreements without determination of the status of GB, were a violation of its people’s rights.

At the end conference issued a joint declaration saying that local people, with the help of the GB Scouts, had revolted against the Maharaja of Kashmir and formed an independent government on Nov 1, 1947.

The resolution said the AJK had its own constitution, president, premier, flag, an independent judiciary and its fundamental rights had been guaranteed under the AJK constitution. But the GB has nothing of the sort.

The conference announced that a joint struggle would be launched for achieving the constitutional rights of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.

After Nov 16, 1947, the Pakistani government took over the administrative control of the GB on the basis of accession by the Mirs of the princely states in the region.

Despite the accession, the GB has been kept as a disputed territory since then by the Pakistani government in order to win any future UN plebiscite. The GB has been incorporated into the UNCIP Resolution which resolved that till the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, the governments of India and Pakistan will administer the areas with local authority.

The conference pointed out that GB neither has representation in Pakistan’s National Assembly, Senate and other institutions nor has it got representation in the AJK Assembly and the AJK’s other institutions.

The conference demanded that the GB should be given a system of governance on the pattern of the Jammu and Kashmir, adding that it was an internationally accepted principle that without representation there should be no taxation.

The resolution said that Pakistan’s taxes could not be imposed in disputed territories and on their population unless these had been imposed by their chosen and elected representatives and unless they had representation in Pakistan’s elected institutions.

The conference was attended, among others, by PPP leader Amjad Hussain, JUI-F leader Rahmat Khaliq, BNF leader Nawaz Naji, APML leader Karim Khan, Awami Action Committee leader Ehsan advocate, PTI leader Javed Ali Manwa and leaders and representatives of the MQM, Jamaat-i-Islami, Islami Tehreek and Lawyers Movement for Constitutional Rights.

Courtesy: Daily Dawn