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
“The government and the chief minister are traitors because they have sold out the region’s interest for the sake of a dummy package,” G-B Opposition Leader Muhammad Shafi Khan told reporters in Gilgit this week referring to the reforms package known as “Order 2018”.
The package was prepared by a committee headed by Sartaj Aziz over the past two years, suggesting bringing G-B on a par with the rest of the provinces. However, sources privy to the matter said that the proposal failed to see the light of day as certain quarters reportedly raised concerns citing the Kashmir issue.
However, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi will formally announce the launch of the Order 2018 in Gilgit in the coming days, officials at the chief minister secretariat said.
“Like his mentor Nawaz Sharif, chief minister Hafeez will soon be calling ‘mujhe qion nikala’,” said Javed Hussain, a Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmaker in Gilgit.
As part of the agitation this week, opposition parties held protest rallies in Islamabad, Ghizer, Skardu and other valleys rejecting the Order 2018. “We have no minute details about what the order contains but we know that the order doesn’t say anything about G-B constitutional status,” said Awami Action Committee Chairman Sultan Raees. “We reject it and will protest till this order is revoked and new one is introduced in consultation with the people.”
Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman told The Express Tribune that the package was tabled and approved in National Security Committee meeting attended by prime minister and army chief among others so there is no point in criticizing the government. He added that the region has got more financial powers as a result of the package.
The Civil society of Gilgit-Baltistan organised a peaceful protest against the brutal killing of a student by a mob in Lahore. Protesters demanded justice and protection for the students of Gilgit-Baltistan in Punjab and other parts of Pakistan. In another incident in Rawalpindi, two students from Gilgit-Baltistan were shot by unknown gunmen, leaving them severely injured.
Posted by Syed Karrar Kazmi on Friday, 19 January 2018
Photo source: Didar Ali, Syed Karrar kazmi
GILGIT: The people of Gilgit-Baltistan are celebrating their 70th Independence Day today (Wednesday) amid dejection that their repeated calls for being granted the constitutional status have not been heeded by the successive governments in Islamabad.
The regional government has declared an official holiday on the occasion, where rallies and functions highlighting the importance of the day would be organised.
Tanveer Hussain, a political activist, said in a revolt against Dogra Raj the people of GB had liberated 72,000 square kilometres of land, which connects Pakistan with its all-weather friend China, India, Afghanistan and central Asian countries.
He said his forefathers had sacrificed their lives for liberation of the region from the clutches of Dogra Raj and British colonialists, but 70 years after the liberation, the people of the region were yet to be accepted as full citizens of Pakistan.
Islamuddin, a lawyer, said GB people had always defended the frontiers of Pakistan and had produced heroes like Lalik Jan (Nishan-i-Haider) and Samina Baig, the first woman to have climbed the Mount Everest, but the people had not been given the right to elect their representatives for the National Assembly and Senate of Pakistan.
The young lawyer said for decades the GB people had been governed through bureaucracy in Islamabad.
Former IG Sindh and political expert Afzal Ali Shigri told Dawn that it was injustice to keep the GB people deprived of their constitutional rights. “GB people have been struggling for their integration with Pakistan for many decades,” he said.
He said the successive governments in the centre had not bothered to grant constitutional status to the GB people.
Mr Shigri criticised the PML-N-led federal government for delaying the issue of granting constitutional rights to the people of GB.
Talking about AJK leadership’s opposition to GB being declared as part of Pakistan, he said Kashmiris had their own government, Supreme Court and High Court, but the GB people never opposed them. He added it was unfair on part of AJK leadership that they were ‘creating’ hurdles to GB people’s demands.
The biggest project in the history of Pakistan, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, is passing through the region, but without determining the constitutional status of GB, he lamented.
Amjad Hussain, PPP GB chapter president, said betterment of the region’s people was not on the priority list of PML-N government.
PTI GB chapter president Raja Jalal Hussain said if his party came to power in the centre it would solve the issues facing the GB people.
Published in Dawn, November 1st, 2017