Effects of Pakistani politics on Gilgit Baltistan
By Dj Mathal
For the last over one decade Pakistan has been passing through great political upheavals. From the ouster of Nawaz Sharif government in 1999 to the recent disqualification of the Sharif brothers by the apex court, Pakistan saw its four-province federation in danger. Under such circumstances how the situation can be satisfactory in an area which is not even the constitutional part of the federation but has been kept under its administrative control by force. Political, economic, judicial and constitutional conditions as well as law and order situation in Pakistan have always impacted Gilgit-Baltistan deeply. The strength and weakness of Pakistan's defence conditions also depend on Gilgit-Baltistan. Due to its connection with the issue of Kashmir, the region also leaves its impact on the foreign policy and international standing of Pakistan.
It has been the biggest tragedy with Gilgit-Baltistan that its leaders have never been united as far as their stances on various issues and national interests are concerned and each and every leader follows his own way of thinking on vital issues. First of all these leaders have no time beyond their personal engagements confined to getting contracts of various projects and visiting government offices to get jobs for their near and dear ones. Therefore, the people of this region feel the urgent need of such political leaders who can work to gain and protect their political and constitutional rights. It is being envisaged that by the end of March the federal government will bring a new political package under which Gilgit-Baltistan would be given a new setup. Local PPP leaders have been talking about the package but nobody knows what would be the contents of the new package.. If there is really any package in the offing, it is for sure that the local leadership has no say in its preparation and, therefore, it can not represent the aspirations of the people of this region. Secondly, the law and order situation in Gilgit-Baltistan is fast deteriorating and after the Swat operation, Hangu, Parachinar and Dera Ismail Khan sectarian clashes and killings, religious leaders in the Northern Areas have also become active. The leaders of Sunni sect are demanding enforcement of Sharia in the region without delay while the Shia leaders are once again in dangerous mood to take up the demand for changes to the syllabus. But the local administration and other government officials are looking very careless to fathom the gravity of the situation. This seems that very soon the situation can take an ugly turn. Some leaders are reported to having said that foreign agencies and elements are behind creating law and order situation in the region. This shows that such leaders are trying to pass the bug to others after failing to control the situation. The question arises how an outsider can operate in such a small area where people know each other very well. We should realize that we are ourselves to blame for the deteriorating law and order situation in Gilgit-Baltistan and by pointing fingers at others we are only providing an opportunity to the anti-peace elements to further their designs. The second important thing is that some people always raise the mantra that they are against international imperialism but then they call upon the same imperialists to come to their help and protect their rights. These people are naÃ¯ve; when they are unable to attain their rights from the smaller imperialist that is Pakistan how can they get rid of the bigger imperialists. Even India is bigger imperialist than Pakistan and to appeal to the international imperialist forces including China, UK, and US for help is a wishful thinking. We never realize that if we provided an opportunity to these imperialist forces to step in Gilgit-Baltistan they will destroy the region and we will never be able to get rid of them even in centuries. The solution to our problem lies at the hands of Pakistani rulers and the popular leadership of Gilgit-Blatistan.. This is also in the best interest of Pakistan that it should chalk out a solution to the issue without involving international forces. One thing should be remembered that the people of Gigit-Baltistan cannot be hoodwinked through packages anymore because this region can neither be given an AJK-like setup or government nor representation in parliament like FATA and PATA. Gilgit-Baltistan was a separate entity and to resolve all its problems its earlier status should be restored. An independent Gilgit-Baltistan will also be in the best interest of Pakistan.