By:Justice (r) Muzaffar Ali
GB: the region, underneath the shadow of three mighty mountains i.e. Himalaya, Karakorum and Koh e Hindukush ranges, remained hidden from greedy eyes of big empires, surrounded outside. Local rajas ruled over the region for centuries. It was the Maharaja Kashmir who invaded Gilgit Baltistan and conquered the region in the mid of 18th century. The local forces stood against illegal occupation of Dogras in their motherland and succeeded to repel maharaja forces from in the year 1947. A local independent state of GB was framed for 15 days. Thereafter, the newly born Muslim state in sub-continent was invited to extend its sovereignty to the region, resultantly; Pakistan got control of the Gilgit Baltistan.
The new miseries of people of Gilgit Baltistan again started with the conflict of Indo-Pak on Kashmir issue. India, cajoled the accessionby the Maharaja Hari Singh, to send its army into Kashmir. Consequent upon, the predominated Muslim population in Kashmir stood against Indian army.
Seeing the defeat, the then ruler of India, Mr. Nehru, involved UNO. The Security Council entered into and passed various resolutions on the issue therein. The Security Council recognized two points in its resolutions; (a)issue between the two countries might cause a threat to international peace and tranquility of the world(b)the right of people of the state to choice one of the claimant countries to integrate with, through a free and fair plebiscite under the auspices of UNO. The right of plebiscite accepted by India and Pakistanbut still remains a dream.
With the scrapping of the special status of J&K, New Delhi changed its narrative. India has announced entire state of J&K, including Azad Kashmir and even Gilgit Baltistan as its constitutional and integral part, throwing aside the resolutions passed by the SecurityCouncil of UNO. The defense minister of India, recently, categorically uttered thatonly dialogues with Pakistan might be about Azad Kashmir and held Kashmir is non-negotiable, either throughinternational mediation or bilaterally with Pakistan.
The above historical gist transpires that,Modi government has dashed all the resolutions passed by the Security Council and threatened the world peace and tranquility unilaterally but, neither UNO nor the world powers are playing an active role to prevent Modi’s hindutua activities.
Indeed, the maharaja Kashmir had illegally ruled over the Gilgit Baltistanfor a span of time in history but it is evident from the historical record that,the region was not an integral part of Riyasat-e-Jamu & Kashmir. The Dogra regime entered into forcefully and thrown the same out of Gilgit Baltistan forcefully by the locals. The governor Raja Shah Raees Khan,as a legitimate ruler of independent state of GB, invited and accepted the sovereignty of Pakistan on the GB. The rulers at that timeof newly born country mishandled GB. They might be either caught by the tricky game played by Nehru to invite the intervention of UNO and his acceptance of right of plebiscite in Kashmir or the then rulers were not acquainted with the historical background of GB.The cause what might be at that time but Gilgit Baltistan was attached with Kashmir issue by the government of Pakistan and the dream of people of Gilgit Baltistan to be an integral part of Pakistan remained still a dream.
The sovereign institutions particularly, the present army chief, intellectually visualized the geopolitical importance of Gilgit Baltistan and malafide plans of Modi. The army chief invited leaders ofvarious political parties in parliament to discuss and convince them about a provisional status in GB pending disposal of the plebiscite in Kashmir state. It is pertinent to note here that, the previous government constituted a committee headed by Sartaj Aziz about future governing system in Gilgit Baltistan and the committee had submitted its recommendations to the then Federal Government whereby the provisional status of GB was recommended on the top of the recommendations. The previous Federal Government as well as the present government both were convinced to give Gilgit Baltistan, the status of provisional province subject to the decision of plebiscite to be conducted under UN resolutions but the security institutions at that time were a little bit reluctant on this subject.
The recommendation of provisional province given by Sartaj Aziz committee is an ultimate solution which is sufficient to fill the vacuum between full fundamental rights of GB and also a provisional settlement pending disposal of the Kashmir issue. That is why;all the responsible institutions like Supreme Court of Pakistan, defense institutions, foreign affairs division etc. all seem to be in consonance with, to implement the recommendation through required amendments in the constitution of Pakistan.
Modi government, in utter violation of Security Council resolutions has, recently, tried to digest the Kashmir state against all legal and moral norms and even retracted from its own pledges to UNO. Despite that, feels burning and badly opposes the new proposed settlement of GB which is an interim settlement of fundamental rights and not injurious to Kashmir issue. Indian media also cries but the deplorable scene is that, the political leaders of Azad Kashmir and some of their cronies, without deeply studying the current critical situation in subcontinent, opposing the new proposed settlement and impliedly strengthening the Indian stance on the subject.
Before departing, I would like to request all the leaders of national parties in Pakistan to favor the new provisional settlement of GB if any bill is tabled in the parliament by the government or even the opposition might also table a private bill in the parliament in this regard, keeping in view, the security concern geopolitical situation, particularly, because of CPEC scheme going through GB.
The proposed provisional province of GB
By:Justice (r) Muzaffar Ali