Team Gilgit-Baltistan Social Welfare Organization congratulates all successful candidates of Central Superior Service (CSS) from Gilgit-Baltistan.
1.Talat Fida from gilgit group (IRS)
2.Shehzad Ali from Nagar (IRS)
3. Mohsin hassan from skardu group (PCS)
4. Asad Ali from Astore Group (PSP)
5. Asmat Abbas from Astore group (OMG)
Well done! We are proud of you.
Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Kashmir: Developments in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir from June 2016 to April 2018, and General Human Rights Concerns in Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan
First-ever UN human rights report on Kashmir calls for international inquiry into multiple violations
GENEVA (14 June 2018) – There is an urgent need to address past and ongoing human rights violations and abuses and deliver justice for all people in Kashmir, who for seven decades have suffered a conflict that has claimed or ruined numerous lives, a report by the UN Human Rights Office published on Thursday says.
The 49-page report – the first ever issued by the UN on the human rights situation in Indian-Administered and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir – details human rights violations and abuses on both sides of the Line of Control, and highlights a situation of chronic impunity for violations committed by security forces.
“The political dimensions of the dispute between India and Pakistan have long been centre-stage, but this is not a conflict frozen in time. It is a conflict that has robbed millions of their basic human rights, and continues to this day to inflict untold suffering,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.
“This is why any resolution of the political situation in Kashmir must entail a commitment to end the cycles of violence and ensure accountability for past and current violations and abuses by all parties, and provide redress for victims,” he said.
“It is also why I will be urging the UN Human Rights Council to consider establishing a commission of inquiry to conduct a comprehensive independent international investigation into allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir,” said Zeid.
Noting the continuing serious tensions in recent weeks, including those stemming from a series of incidents in Srinagar, he called on Indian security forces to exercise maximum restraint, and strictly abide by international standards governing the use of force when dealing with future protests, including ones that could well occur this coming weekend.
“It is essential the Indian authorities take immediate and effective steps to avoid a repetition of the numerous examples of excessive use of force by security forces in Kashmir,” Zeid said.
The UN Human Rights Office – which, despite repeated requests to both India and Pakistan over the past two years, has not been given unconditional access to either side of the Line of Control – undertook remote monitoring to produce the report, which covers both Indian-Administered Kashmir and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir.
The main focus of the report is the human rights situation in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir from July 2016 – when large and unprecedented demonstrations erupted after Indian security forces killed the leader of an armed group – to April 2018.
Indian security forces used excessive force that led to unlawful killings and a very high number of injuries, the report says, citing civil society estimates that up to 145 civilians were killed by the security forces between mid-July 2016 and the end of March 2018, with up to 20 other civilians killed by armed groups in the same period.
One of the most dangerous weapons used against protesters in 2016 – and which is still being employed by security forces – was the pellet-firing shotgun. According to official figures, 17 people were killed by shotgun pellets between July 2016 and August 2017, and 6,221 people were injured by the metal pellets between 2016 and March 2017. Civil society organizations believe that many of them have been partially or completely blinded.
“Impunity for human rights violations and lack of access to justice are key human rights challenges in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” the report says, noting that the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act 1990 (AFSPA) and the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act 1978 (PSA) have “created structures that obstruct the normal course of law, impede accountability and jeopardize the right to remedy for victims of human rights violations.”
The AFSPA prohibits prosecution of security forces personnel unless the Indian Government grants prior permission to prosecute. “This gives security forces virtual immunity against prosecution for any human rights violation. In the nearly 28 years that the law has been in force in Jammu and Kashmir there has not been a single prosecution of armed forces personnel granted by the central government,” the report says.
There is also almost total impunity for enforced or involuntary disappearances, with little movement towards credibly investigating complaints, including into alleged sites of mass graves in the Kashmir Valley and Jammu region.
Chronic impunity for sexual violence also remains a key concern in Kashmir. An emblematic case is the Kunan-Poshpora mass rape 27 years ago when, according to survivors, soldiers gang-raped 23 women. “Attempts to seek justice have been denied and blocked over the years at different levels,” the report says.
The report also points to evidence that the armed groups that have operated in Jammu and Kashmir since the late 1980s have committed a wide range of human rights abuses, including kidnappings and killings of civilians and sexual violence. Despite the Government of Pakistan’s denial of any support for these groups, the report notes that a number of experts have concluded that Pakistan’s military continues to support their operations across the Line of Control.
The report also examines a range of human rights violations in Pakistan-Administered Kashmir which, according to the report, are of a different calibre or magnitude and of a more structural nature. In addition, the report says, restrictions on freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and in Gilgit-Baltistan have limited the ability to obtain information about the situation.
Among the issues highlighted in the report is the constitutional relationship of these two “distinct territories” with Pakistan. AJK has effectively been controlled by Pakistan throughout its entire history. Pakistan’s federal authorities also have full control over all government operations in Gilgit-Baltistan, and federal intelligence agencies are reportedly deployed across both regions.
The impact of Pakistani counter-terrorism operations on human rights is detailed in the report, which notes the concerns of the UN Human Rights Committee at the “very broad definition of terrorism laid down in the Anti-Terrorism Act.” The report quotes a respected national NGO that found hundreds of people had been imprisoned under the Act in Gilgit-Baltistan, and that it was being used to target locals who were raising issues related to people’s human rights.
Among its recommendations, the report calls on India and Pakistan to fully respect their international human rights law obligations in Indian-Administered and Pakistan-Administered Kashmir respectively.
India should urgently repeal the AFSPA; establish independent, impartial and credible investigations to probe all civilian killings since July 2016 and all abuses committed by armed groups; and provide reparations and rehabilitation to all injured individuals and to the families of those killed in the context of security operations. Similarly, the PSA should be amended to ensure its compliance with international human rights law, and all those held under administrative detention should either be charged or immediately released.
The report urges Pakistan to end the misuse of anti-terror legislation to persecute those engaging in peaceful political and civil activities and those who express dissent. The sections of the AJK interim constitution that limit the rights to freedoms of expression and opinion, and peaceful assembly and association should be amended. Any political activists, journalists and others convicted for peacefully expressing their opinions should be immediately released. The constitutions of AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan should also be amended to end the criminalization of Ahmadiyya Muslims.
B-roll video of the High Commissioner speaking about the report here.
Audio of the High Commissioner here.
2018 is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70thanniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rights: www.standup4humanrights.org.
Retrieved from: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23198&LangID=E
The reason why human societies cannot be explained through fixed laws is that humans are capable of creating complex social structures and ideas. It is this difference between human society and animal kingdom that makes a human being more an animal of ideas than of instincts.
Ideas are crucial for society’s psychological health because they enable them to protect themselves from the malaise that stems from a stagnant system. The basic question is: how are ideas born? Ideas are highly intangible expressions of tangible experiences of worldly life. To understand them properly, it is important to take into consideration the circumstances that give birth to particular ideas in certain social and political settings.
This article tries to situate Gilgit-Baltistan within the power dispensation structure of Pakistan, and attempts to take stock of the kind of ideas and political sentiments such a system creates. It will also help us dig deep into the political consciousness and diagnose the source of the real malaise that infects society and politics. So far, Gilgit-Baltistan has been viewed from political, economic and social perspectives, but no attempts have been made to explore the nature of the interface between political hegemony and social psychology.
Since its accession to Pakistan in 1947, the region has been kept in a perpetual limbo by the governments in Pakistan. Its liminal status has given birth to consciousness and ideas that determine its political, social and cultural landscape, and the psychological mindscape.
In the modern period, Gilgit-Baltistan followed a path that entangled it in a process that has compelled the region to experience the eternal recurrence of the same. The modern period in Gilgit-Baltistan began in the 1830s when Sikhs and Dogras from Kashmir started to intrude and gradually subjugated some principalities with the tacit support of the British Empire. The locals became subjects of exogenous rules and alien systems. Since the colonial and post-colonial periods, political alienation has taken myriad shapes. Gradually, that alienation permeated into every sphere of life, including politics.
The political alienation of the region has not manifested in mass movements because the local compradors are co-opted in the hegemonic structure. Despite changes to the names of the systems that governed Gilgit-Baltistan, the essential character of the hegemonic systems has remained immutable. The hegemonic apparatus has succeeded in maintaining a semblance of political contentment and containment by imbuing political consciousness in the hues of power.
This process of altering consciousness to serve the post-colonial hegemonic system has close affinity with the colonial strategies which changed the very structure of the sense and sensibilities of the colonised. Frantz Fanon in ‘Black Skin White Masks’ provides a psychological and philosophical analysis of the inner effects of colonialism on the colonised. The deep inferiority complexes develop a yearning in the colonised to become a copy of his master. In other words, the subjugated want to become a part of the structure that has deprived them of their agency.
In Gilgit-Baltistan, the infrastructure of domination tries to obliterate the experience of alienation from society by depriving people of a collective perspective and infusing in them a false sense of power. However, the feeling of political alienation silently keeps festering. Fanon thinks that in every society exists, “an outlet through which the forces accumulated in the form of aggression can be released.” The politically suppressed individual of Gilgit-Baltistan sublimates himself by exercising power within his family, tribe, region, religion and society.
Power and authority in Gilgit-Baltistan is distributed not only in governmental organs but is also more powerfully exercised on roads, in markets, schools, rituals, religious spaces, family structure, literature and behaviour. Because of this palpable presence of power in the objective and subjective worlds, people of Gilgit-Baltistan have modified their psychology and have surrendered themselves to power to secure themselves. It can be deduced that pervasive power infects private spheres as well – apparent in the emerging trend of ‘marriages of power’ in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Referring to Joachim Marcus’ study related to the structure of families and societies and their abnormal behaviour, Fanon agrees with Marcus, who claimed that “like all other human conduct, behaviour towards authority is something learned.” It is because of the role that power plays in families, tribes, religions and society that the political class of Gilgit-Baltistan in particular, and society in general, prefers to relinquish collective will for individual benefit. This also explains why seasoned politicians and elected representatives prefer lucrative jobs that come with administrative power over becoming peoples’ voice.
According to Antonio Gramsci, ruling class maintains hegemony through political and ideological means. It is a combination of coercion and consent. In this political schema, the state is seen as the coercive force, whereas the civil society helps achieve consent. In the post-colonial period, the Gilgit-Baltistan region started on a new trajectory of complete consent after its leaders decided to merge the region with Pakistan, in November 1947. With the passage of time, the region has witnessed an increase in the state’s coercion, and decrease in consent as the federal government wants to become the master of the region by dominating the political space.
Since the dissolution of the last princely state of Hunza in 1974, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan witnessed gradual disempowerment through different systems, packages and orders. The recently announced Gilgit-Baltistan Governance Order, 2018 is worse than the former ones because it divests the region of whatever power it had previously. Instead of consulting the local people in drafting the new order, it has been imposed in a manner typical of the imperial viceroy who governed the Indian Subcontinent. All orders claim to give more power to the region than the previous dispensations, but Gilgit-Baltistan gets neither de jure nor de facto powers for governing its affairs. This policy to manage the region through coercive instruments at the expense of political means has further aggravated the situation. It is fallacious to think that political malaise can be cured through administrative measures. In the long run, political void only breeds monsters. The emergence of sectarian forces is an outcome of keeping the region in an uncertain political state. If the next government too kept the region in a perpetual limbo, then these dark forces will extinguish whatever little exists of the civil society and its politics.
The War of Independence was fought to end all wars of the colonial era. But the post-colonial period has only allowed a semblance of politics to exist by inducting a cadre of local politicians in the hollow governance structure. Owing to the region’s dependency on the centre, the political leaders in the peripheries have become mouthpieces of their masters.
By making Gilgit-Baltistan politically and existentially mute, the state apparatus has snuffed the life out of the region’s society and politics. A politically poor and psychologically subjugated society like Gilgit-Baltistan lacks the capacity to give birth to new ideas. Such a society provides a fertile soil for dehumanising orders and sanguinary ideas to nourish.
The writer is a freelance columnist based in Gilgit.
Retrieved from: https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/329012-hegemony-and-its-malaise
A provincial status for Gilgit-Baltistan, conditional on the final resolution of the Kashmir conflict on the basis of a plebiscite, shall not take away from Pakistan’s principled stand in the UN
As the Prime Minister made his way to the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly, as it was known then, he was greeted along the way by locals waving shoes in the air. The Prime Minister was making his way to the Assembly to unveil the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order, 2018. Unsurprisingly, he was taken aback by the protests, and could not understand as to why the locals were so unhappy with a law which was supposedly bringing them at par with the rest of the country.
But in actuality, it was not. The 2018 Order, for what it’s worth, does in fact make efforts to establish a system similar to that present in the four provinces of Pakistan, albeit, without affording provincial status to the region. And that is where the problem lies.
As is known to many, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan have been demanding integration into Pakistan as its fifth province for over 70 years. However, on each occasion that such a demand has arisen, it has been shot down on the basis of a single rationale. This rationale dictates that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan can’t be granted provincial status until the final resolution of the Kashmir dispute, and that any attempt to do so would undermine and weaken Pakistan’s ‘principled’ stance vis-à-vis the UN Resolutions. This argument has gained traction as the UN Resolutions appear to lump both areas together, and treat them as one and the same.
The UN Resolution dated 21.04.1948, as well as the others, were passed under Chapter VI of the UN Charter, which in effect, deals with non-binding resolutions. In this resolution, the UN Security Council had ‘recommended’ for the demilitarization of the Kashmir territory, after which arrangements for a plebiscite would take place. Pakistan was to ensure that all those tribal people and other Pakistani nationals who had infiltrated Kashmir for purposes of fighting would leave the area. During the course of such evacuation, India and the U.N. Commission would then discuss and finalize a demilitarization plan for India, which interestingly, did not require total withdrawal. As per the UN recommended plan, India would be allowed to retain a minimal level of forces in the area.
Nehru stated that the “fate of the State of Jammu & Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people. The pledge we have given not only to people of Kashmir but also to the world. We will not, and cannot, back out of it”
After this, another UN Resolution dated 13.08.1948 was passed, which contained the terms of the ceasefire between India and Pakistan. This resolution acknowledged the penetration of Pakistani regular troops into Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, and termed such an event as constituting a ‘material change’ in the situation on the ground. As such, the UN had sought for Pakistan to withdraw all its troops from the area, as well as all remaining Pakistani nationals. After this was done, the said area was to be governed by local authorities. On the other side of the defacto border, India would be required to draw up a plan with the Commission for demilitarization on its side.
As history would have it, Pakistan and India, from 1948 onwards, have been quarrelling over the interpretation of such aspects of the resolutions, and in particular, the mode of demilitarization. India contends that the withdrawal of Pakistani forces was a sine qua non to any plebiscite, whereas the Pakistani side claims that Pakistani forces were required to complete the withdrawal only upon India finalizing a plan for demilitarization on its side of the defacto border.
Interestingly, whereas both sides had disputed the manner by which demilitarization was to take place, neither had denied the validity of the plebiscite itself. It has always been Pakistan’s stated position that a plebiscite must be held in Kashmir. It is also a fact that India was not only the party to bring the dispute to the Security Council, it had also acknowledged the validity of the plebiscite on several occasions after the passage of the resolutions. This was acknowledged in UN Resolutions dated 05.01.1949 and 14.03.1950, which unequivocally noted the acceptance of the plebiscite demand by both India and Pakistan. Furthermore, Nehru is reported to have stated on November 2, 1947, whilst speaking on All India Radio, that the “fate of the State of Jammu & Kashmir is ultimately to be decided by the people. The pledge we have given not only to people of Kashmir but also to the world. We will not and cannot back out of it”. Thereafter, on November 25, 1947, Nehru informed the Indian parliament that “we have suggested that when people of Kashmir are given a chance to decide their future, this should be done under the supervision of an impartial tribunal such as United Nations Organization”.
Hence, certain points become palpably clear in regard to the resolutions and Pakistan’s position in relation to them. The resolutions appear to be non-binding in nature, thereby meaning that the Security Council cannot enforce them. However, upon acceptance by both sides, aspects of the resolutions would certainly become binding in regards to the parties themselves. As such, the holding of the plebiscite, as espoused by the UN Security Council, was binding inter se the parties as a result of their acceptance, however aspects pertaining to the manner of demilitarization, by virtue of being disputed and under disagreement, were not. The lack of agreement on this aspect was also noted in UN Resolution dated 10.11.1951 and other resolutions, which call upon the two countries to come to an agreement on the mode of demilitarization.
As such, until the mode of demilitarization is agreed upon between the parties, as stated in the UN Resolutions itself, the said aspects of the resolutions cannot be effective or enforceable. Hence, in the meantime, Pakistan would be well within its rights to afford the people of Gilgit-Baltistan a governance system which best protects and furthers their rights. Doing so would not be in violation of any UN mandate, nor would it infringe upon Pakistan’s principled stand. If anything, such an action would instead help further their cause.
In fact, it may be noted that even if Gilgit-Baltistan was to be considered a non-self-governing territory for purposes of the UN Charter, such as Puerto Rico, even then, Pakistan would be obligated to keep the interests of its inhabitants paramount, with utmost attention to be paid to providing them with self-governance, as is their desire.
Keeping all this in mind, a provincial status for the region, conditional on the final resolution of the conflict on the basis of a plebiscite, shall not take away from Pakistan’s principled stand. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan are entitled to representation in the institutions which are to make decisions for them, and a stake in the affairs of the entity which governs them. Affording them such a status would go a long way in addressing the growing concerns of the local populace. And it would also go a long way in dispelling the unfortunate perception that is developing, which is that the state seems confused, straddling those who seek to leave the Federation, and distancing and alienating those who earnestly desire to be Pakistanis in the truest sense of the word.
By Basil Nabi Malik
The writer is a Karachi based lawyer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @basilnabi
Published in Daily Times, June 8th 2018.
Over the last year, there has been a growing trend among prominent business leaders. These leaders are encouraging their employees to take more calculated risks and not let fear of failure hold them back.
Today’s leaders may be pulling inspiration from Google’s cofounder Larry Page’s principle on Moonshot projects. Or maybe it’s the words of legendary venture capitalist Tom Perkins, who was all about taking intelligent business bets when he said, “Only two out of about every 10 projects resulted in a home run.” But when you do have a home run such as Genentech, the 800-fold return on investment covers and pays for the miscalculated ventures.
In a recent interview, Catherine Courage, vice president of user experience (UX) at Google, made the suggestion that you should “embrace fear, rather than letting it hold you back.” Courage loves the quote “Growth and comfort do not coexist. And the twinge of doubt is often a sign that you’re pushing to the next level.” She went on to say, “The potential rewards of taking a chance are tremendous, and far more significant than the fear and risk you may be feeling.”
In May 2017, Coca-Cola announced it had a new CEO, James Quincey, and his first order of business was to beseech rank-and-file managers to get beyond the fear of failure that had persisted at the organization since the “New Coke” debacle so many years ago. “If we are not making mistakes,” he asserted, “we are not trying hard enough.” With a company like Coke — one that needs to majorly reinvent its image and product offerings due to changing consumer habits as well criticisms that soda is linked obesity and diabetes — leaders need to try new business experiments. And trying new things means some, maybe even most, won’t work out as a financial success.
Last June, even as the Netflix CEO Reed Hastings had been enjoying unparalleled subscriber growth, he was still concerned that his extremely popular streaming service had hit too many shows and was canceling too few new ones. He said the Netflix hit ratio was too high and that the service should actually have a higher cancel rate overall. The takeaway was that current viewer data of what shows people watched the most is not a crystal ball into what new shows will be a breakout hits. By taking risks, Netflix puts itself in position to have shows that are “just unbelievable winners,” Hasting stated.
Even Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, considered the wealthiest and most successful entrepreneur ever, is making the case that his company’s innovation and growth is forged on its failures. “If you are going to take bold bets, they are going to be experiments,” he said after Amazon purchased Whole Foods last summer. “And if they are experiments, you don’t know ahead of time if they are actually going to work. Experiments are by their very nature prone to failure. But a few big successes compensate for dozens and dozens of things that did not work.”
The message from these business leaders is as easy to comprehend as it is difficult for most of us to put into practice. There are many startups and companies that claim to live by the virtues of creativity and innovation. Yet quite a few of these same leaders and organizations often live in fear of making mistakes, wrong turns and missteps — which is why they often have so little innovation and creativity. Living the life of an entrepreneur, if you are not prepared to fail, you aren’t prepared to learn either. Unless leaders and organizations manage to keep learning as quickly as the world is changing, then they will never keep evolving and moving forward.
So having conveyed this point, what is the right way to be wrong? Are there certain methods or techniques that allow innovative companies and individual workers to immerse themselves in the necessary connection between a small failures and huge successes? As an example, Smith College, which is an all female school in Western Massachusetts, developed a program titled “Failing Well’ to teach its high achieving students something everyone could benefit from — dealing with and overcoming setbacks. The leader of the school’s initiative, Rachel Simmons, told the New York Times, “What we are trying to teach is that failure is not a bug of learning. It’s the feature.”
When students take and complete her program, they receive a Certificate of Failure that declares they are “hereby authorized to screw up, bomb or fail” at a relationship, a test, a project or any other initiative that is deemed very important and “still be a totally worthy, utterly excellent human being.” Undergraduate, as well as graduate, students who are prepared to handle failure are less fragile and more daring compared to those who expect perfection and flawless performance.
This lesson can and should be applied to business scenarios or applications as well. Take for example, the CEO of Domino’s, Patrick Doyle, who has been running the pizza giant since 2010. He has turned around a legacy business into a tech enabled category disruptor by having one of the most successful seven-year runs of any business leader in almost any industry. But for all of his company milestones or wins, he protests, there is its willingness to face up to the inevitability of mistakes and missteps.
In 2016, Doyle gave a presentation at a CEO conference called Business Leaders For Michigan. Doyle talked about two major changes that stand in the way of companies and individuals being more open and honest about failure. The first hurdle, he insists, is what he calls “omission bias” — which is the reality that most people with a new idea will often choose not to pursue the idea because if they try something and it does not work out, the setback might damage their career or performance review. The second obstacle is being able to overcome what he calls the “loss aversion” — which is the tendency for people to play “not to lose” instead of playing to win, because for most of us, “the pain of loss is double the pleasure of winning.” Except maybe if you are addicted to gambling.
Doyle goes on the explain that creating “the permission to fail is energizing” and also a necessary condition for success — which is why named his presentation “Failure Is an Option.” And that may be the most crucial lesson of all.
Retrieved from: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/313415
Last week saw developments of truly historic proportion transpiring in the country. In a matter of days, the 31st Constitutional Amendment got passed by the Parliament and the Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Assembly. The people of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) now await just a signature of the President for the region to formally get inducted into KP province.
While the treasury and opposition lawmakers and state officials who worked for the FATA merger deserve applaud, we must not let the annals of history forget the plight of the people of the region who endured barbaric colonial-era laws for 70-long years even after the British colonisers’ departure. True credit for the merger, therefore, goes to the longstanding struggle of the FATA people.
It is ironic that while FATA became history on Sunday, Islamabad’s chequered history vis-à-vis its people continued unaffected in Gilgit Baltistan (GB). Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi addressed a GB Legislative Assembly session where he sang praises of the controversial GB Order 2018, ignoring the fact that a grassroots alliance of various civil society actors, Awami Action Committee (AAC), has staged massive rallies and demonstrations against the order over the last week.
The GB Order 2018 was meant to be a step forward from the one passed during the Pakistan Peoples Party government in 2009. Under that ordinance, the process of self-empowerment — a cornerstone of republican values enshrined for the rest of Pakistan in the country’s constitution — had been started with the formation of a legislative assembly to be elected by the GB people on the principle of adult franchise. The 2009 order severely restricted the GBLA’s autonomy since all its affairs were to remain under the scrutiny of a 17-member GB Council to be headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Meaning that real power over all legislative affairs lied with the authorities in Islamabad.
Against this backdrop, the 2018 ordinance is hardly a step forward. Infact, it makes matters worse by assigning an advisory role to the Council. Meaning that the latter’s power of scrutiny gets transferred to the PM sitting in Islamabad. With 62 legislative subjects under the exclusive domain of the Prime Minister the GBLA is unlikely to have any empowering role in the region’s government, once the 2018 order gets enforced. There are similar concerns over the lack of judicial authority vested in the GB courts whose jurisdiction remains limited to the region. Such a judicial authority will not be able to check any violations of the fundamental rights of the Gilgit Baltistan people. Therefore, Part II of the order, on fundamental rights and principles of policy, remains without the necessary legislative and judicial force needed to enforce them. *
Published in Daily Times, May 28th 2018.
GILGIT: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that the newly promulgated Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018 has transferred all the powers to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan who will enjoy similar rights which the people of other provinces have without any discrimination.
“All subjects under the 18th Constitution Amendment have been shifted to the Gilgit-Baltistan government, yet if the GB representatives have some more demands, we can include [them] in the order, [as] our government is still left some days,” vowed PM Abbasi while addressing a joint session of the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly and GB Council on Sunday.
“From today I as the prime minster and Barjees Tahir as federal minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan have become powerless as far as the affairs of Gilgit-Baltistan are concerned. All the powers have been shifted to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and no one can abolish the powers which we have transferred to them.
PM says people of Gilgit-Baltistan have been granted rights which other Pakistanis have
“Now onwards the governor as well as all GB High Court judges, including chief justice, will be appointed from Gilgit-Baltistan,” Mr Abbasi said, adding that the GB Council would function as an advisory body.
He said it was amazing that some opposition parties were protesting against the law. If they had listened, they would have noticed that all powers had already been transferred to local representatives under the Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018, which did not need legislation through the parliament. “If legislation through the parliament was needed, we could have done it as Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz enjoys majority in the house,” said Mr Abbasi.
Referring to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the premier expressed the hope that GB would be the most prosperous and developed area of the country under the project. He suggested locals to become aware of CPEC benefits and start working to reap maximum benefits of the project.
He said the international issues related to the region might go on, but it was a proud moment for the government as GB people would have same rights which the people of other parts of the country enjoyed.
Governor Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Mohammad Barjees Tahir, members of Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly and GB council attended the session.
Earlier during his address, Chief Minister Hafeez-ur-Rehman thanked PM Abbasi and termed his visit a milestone in the history of GB. While he had just started his speech, Leader of the Opposition in GB Assembly Mohammad Shafi Khan stood up from his seat and interrupted the CM to say GB people had principally rejected the order.
“How can GB be governed through orders?” he asked, arguing that the GB should be granted the status of the AJK-like set-up if there was any complication to declare GB as constitutional part of Pakistan. However, he questioned, why the people of GB had been deprived from their constitutional and fundamental rights in the name of Kashmir.
Mr Khan announced that the opposition parties had decided principally not to accept any order without constitutional protection. He said the people of Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the India-held Kashmir had dual citizenship and enjoyed all basic rights.
Other opposition members Javed Hussain of Pakistan Peoples Party, Raja Jahanzeb of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Nawaz Naji of Balawaristan National Front stood up and shouted the slogan “orders not accepted”. The opposition lawmakers also tore apart the copies of the agenda.
During the protest, a scuffle erupted between opposition and ruling party members. PML-N lawmaker retired Major Mohammad Amin and PTI legislator Raja Jahanzeb, who had arrived on crutches to attend the session, came to blows before the opposition staged a walkout.
Following the walkout by the opposition, the prime minister began his speech.
Meanwhile, a complete strike was observed across Gilgit-Baltistan on the call of joint opposition.
Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2018
GILGIT: Dozen of protesters, including a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) member in the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly Raja Jahanzeb Khan and Awami Action Committee chairman Maulana Sultan Raees, were injured during a clash with police here on Saturday.
Opposition parties in the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly, including Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), PTI, Islami Tehreek Pakistan and Majlis Wahdatul Muslimeen (MWM), lawyers, civil society organisations, Anjuman Tajran and Awami Action committee had given call for a sit-in outside the assembly’s building where Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is scheduled to address a joint session of GB Legislative Assembly and GB council to announce formal enforcement of the GB Order 2018 on Sunday.
The police blocked all roads leading to the building by parking containers on it.
A large number of activists led by opposition leader in GBLA Shafi Khan and the assembly’s members from the PTI, PPP, MWM, started moving from Etihad Chowk towards the building.
According to eyewitnesses, the police fired tear gas shells to disperse the protesters who hurled stones at police personnel.
Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2018