Gilgit-Baltistan (Jammu and Kashmir) [India]March 5 (ANI): Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK), often used to attract foreign tourists to its mountainous region, also known as the “soft side” of Pakistan, is a Neglected areas, across-the-board shortages have left their populations “begging” in front of the federal government, Pakistan’s military monitor reported.
Shortages of everything from fuel to food to electricity have sparked street protests in recent weeks. They have little political power, participate in administration and cannot escape the “abnormal” situation of Pakistani polity.
The Pak Military Monitor reports that sentiment is turning anti-federal in the PoK region of Gilgit-Baltistan. The elected representatives did nothing to ease the burden on the local people.
The People’s Action Committee, which is leading the street protests, has begun saying that national parties have used Gilgit-Baltistan as a “colony” exploited by federal authorities. This will continue unless they are rejected in the election, the Pak Military Monitor reported.
Gilgit Baltistan was drawn into the Kashmir dispute after Pakistan illegally occupied part of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947.
In 1949, the Pakistani government incorporated Gilgit-Baltistan into the Kashmir issue without the consent of the people. From the beginning, “the local population of Gilgit-Baltistan was considered incompetent. The region was governed through the notorious Frontier Crime Regulations (FCR). Only during Zulfiqar Bhutto’s rule, in the upper Halfway through, the FCR was only abolished in Gilgit-Baltistan, according to the Pakistan Military Monitor.
Parts of Gilgit-Baltistan were illegally ceded to China during Ayub Khan’s rule. This is in accordance with the 1963 Sino-Pakistani agreement, which has provisional status.
Mubashir Hasan, a key minister in Bhutto’s cabinet, wrote in his book “Phantoms of Power” that during his visit to the region in 1973, he observed government accounts in Gilgit institutions Controlled by the Accountant-General based in Peshawar, the capital of the North West Frontier Province, now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
Indigenous people need to be empowered with constitutional and political rights. Representation of Gilgit-Baltistan in the Senate and National Assembly must be ensured. The Pak Military Monitor reported that the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly must be given more powers as a powerless assembly is of no use to ordinary people. (Arnie)
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