September 3, 2009

Gilgit Baltistan: New Pakistani Package or Governor Rule

Active ImageMr. Syed Yousuf Reza Gilani, Prime Minister of Pakistan announced a package for Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan) by terming it as self-governance and Internal Autonomy.

 

On 29th Aug. 2009,  Mr. Syed Yousuf Reza Gilani, Prime Minister of Pakistan announced a package for Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan) by terming it as self-governance and Internal Autonomy. The so-called package has been finalized by a high powered Committee under the Chairmanship of Mr. Qamar Zaman Kaira,  from Lalamusa of Punjab Pakistan a Minister of KANA Islamabad. Gilani said that major political parties were taken in to confidence. A Pakistani English Newspaper "The News" published a story on the same day as below:

"The Northern Areas would be granted self-rule on the pattern of Azad Jammu and Kashmir as proposed in the summary finalized in consultation with the authorities of these areas and in accordance with its resolutions. When asked about opposition from any quarter, the sources said that every sitting minister had been consulted and their input had been formed part of the summary. Under the summary , Gilgit Baltistan would have its own election commission, commissioner and courts like AJK. Had the Northern Areas given the status of a province, there might be reaction from outside the borders."

Giving details of the Order's salient features, Gilani said the Gilgit Baltistan Assembly will formulate its own Rules of Procedures, while legislation on various subjects pertinent to governance will be done by the Council and Assembly in their respective jurisdiction. Prime Minister of Pakistan said the area would be given full rights as Azad Jammu and Kashmir, however it could not be given provincial status as per the Constitution.

Regarding any impact on the UN document about on Northern Areas, Gilani said both Foreign Office and the AJK President had been taken onboard before the decision. To a question, he said the Council did not need parliament's shelter as it had its own Rules of Business, while Boundary Commission had already been constituted.

Gilani further said

1.      There shall be a governor of Gilgit Baltistan as proposed under
Article -20 and shall be appointed by the President of Pakistan.

2.      Chief Minister will be elected by the Gilgit Baltistan Legislative
Assembly, who will be assisted by six ministers.

3.      Legislative Assembly will have directly elected 24 members, besides
six women and three technocrats.

4.      The decision will empower the Gilgit Baltistan Council and Assembly
to make laws. The subject under which the Assembly shall now have power to make law has increased from 49-61 while the Council have 55 subjects.

5.      The Chief Judge of Supreme Appellate Court shall be appointed by the
Chairman of the Council on the Advice of the governor and other Judges shall be appointed by the Chairman on the advice of the governor after seeking views of the Chief Judge.

6.      Chief Judge and Judges of the Chief Court shall be appointed by the
Chairman of the Council on the advice of the governor on the same pattern as as it is being practiced in AJK.

7.      Number of Judges  had been increased from three to five. The tenure
of the present Judges of the Supreme Judiciary has been protected in the draft.

8.      Auditor General Gilgit Baltistan will be appointed by the Governor
on the advice of the Council as in the case in AJK.

9.      There shall be an Election Commissioner under Article 82 as well as
Auditor General besides Emergency Provisions under article 83 and 87 respectively.

10.  A boundary Commission has been constituted.

Despite of high claims of granting SELF-GOVERNANCE or INTERNAL  AUTONOMY, Governor  Rule in the manner of Martial Law administrator has been introduced. The head of the Committee has declared  himself as a governor by the person who was given the highest power by the government of Pakistan to stage  the so-called package drama. All the powers rest with the Pakistani, President (a Pakistan national belong to Sindh province, as approving Authority), Prime Minister (Chairman of the Council, who is Pakistan national  belongs to Multan of Punjab and not elected by the people of Gilgit Baltistan) and Minister of KANA (Governor and Vice Chairman of the Council, is Pakistan national from Lala Musa of Punjab and not elected by the people of Gilgit Baltistan) who have now been declared themselves as Chairman and governor respectively.

 

 The governor and Chairman of the Council are the Supreme Authority. The Gilgit  Baltistan Council would be chaired by the prime minister of Pakistan, who will not be elected by votes of the people of Gilgit Baltistan, while an un-elected governor, to be appointed by the president of Pakistan, would act as vice - chairman of the council. This arrangement is being seen as a major ploy to control the elected representatives of Gilgit Baltistan, so to use the new political setup as rubber stamp to get stamp for the construction of 6 Mega Dams including Diamar/ Bhasha Dam and to merge Gilgit Baltistan in to Pakistan  by ignoring the will of the 2 Million people.

It is for the very first time, in history of Pakistan, that a serving federal minister has been appointed governor of a political entity which is beyond the constitution of Pakistan.

A new designation, called Chief Minister, has been created but the CM would not be authorized to form his cabinet. The governor would form a cabinet, albeit with "advise (which is not legally bound)" of the chief minister. The elected legislative assembly would not be able to elect the chief minister.
He would not be elected by Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly but selected by the  Council (headed by Chairman and Vice Chairman, both are Pakistani national and do not belong to Gilgit Baltistan).  This power mechanism  is a clear indicative of future plan of Pakistan to exploit the resources of this region of Jammu & Kashmir dispute. We strongly believe that in the presence of huge number of Pakistani forces and its Intelligence agency  the definition of autonomy or Self-Rule is an eyewash to the world community and trick of gaining time to strength it occupation with the full fledge help of government of China.

The Gilgit - Baltistan Legislative Assembly, not authorized to discuss a large number of vital issues related to governance of the region, would comprise of thirty eight members. The real power is given to Gilgit Baltistan Council (whose head will be Pakistani Prime Minister as Chairman) which will not be elected but selected like Pok (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir).

Some pro-Pakistan political leaders will be elected in this Council and many others will be given personal benefits as bribe as its past practice of Pakistan in return of huge exploitation. The elected people have no legal and constitutional protection like what has been given to PoK by its constitution of 1974.

The increase of  the number of judges of the Supreme Appellate Court from 3 to 5 without giving a High Court and Supreme Court is meaningless.
Nevertheless, this so-called package  will be of no real significance in the presence of Pakistani forces without giving the right to self-determination or even like "Local Authority" after the complete withdrawal of Pakistani forces and civilians, which had been promised by UNCIP on 13th Aug 1948.

 

The main objection of this non-democratic Package is all the stakeholders in Pakistan have been consulted but nobody from Balawaristan (Pakistan Occupied Gilgit Baltistan) has been taken in to confidence. What is the justification of these Pakistani self-claimed Stake holders, where all these have no legal or constitutional authority to impose their own branded laws against the wishes of the people of such an area which is not part of Pakistan according to its own constitution and Court verdicts besides UNCIP Resolutions. While Pakistani did not take the actual stake holders (owners of this land) in to confidence. The so-called Northern Areas Legislative Assembly (NALA) as Pakistani term it, was not taken in to confidence. Even the so-called powerless local Chief Executive of NALA Meer Ghazanfar was not aware of this package before the announcement.

 

To settle these boundaries dispute between Balawaristan and Pakistan, Pakistani PM has announced to establish a Boundary Commission during his package announcement. According to the source, a Pakistani Judge from NWFP and another Judge from Gilgit Baltistan (who gets salary from Islamabad ) have been deputed to decide the boundary dispute in favour of Pakistan.

Though this is world recognized phenomenon and  law that a Judge should always be impartial.  How a party of a dispute can deliver a judgement against its own interest. Pakistani national whether a serving or retired Judge or any person or a Pakistani employee  from Gilgit Baltistan who gets salary or other benefit or interest from Pakistan cannot be trusted as impartial.

 

Besides this China has constructed 16 Airstrips on Karakorum Highway (KKH, which is mostly used for the Military purpose (Missiles and nuclear parts were being supplied to Pakistan via this Road in the past) between Pakistan and China. 

Pakistan is now hatching conspiracy to build 6 Mega Dams on this disputed land with the help of China without consultation the local indigenous people and even without the knowledge of UNO and UNSC, because the fate of this disputed land has not been decided yet with the rest of the Jammu & Kashmir according to the UNCIP resolutions.

The presence of Chinese forces and the construction of 16 Airstrips on the Road for Jet Fighters, will jeopardise the peace of the whole South Asia and the world in near future.

 

We the people of Balawaristan reject this new Pakistani package, because this will create more deprivation, lack of Justice and snatch our freedom than ever. 

We appeal to the EU and USA  to persuade China not to involve itself in the occupation process of Balawaristan (Pakistan occupied Gilgit Baltistan) by taking lease of precious mines including copper, Gold and Uranium etc, by constructing, Air Strips on the Road, Railways and Dams to change its environment, demography, geography and political dispensation.

 

We appeal to civilized world  usually and European Union particularly to put pressure on China and Pakistan to withdraw their forces from  Gilgit Baltistan in spite of playing new Package tricks so the 2 million people of this disputed region could decide their future without China and Pakistani interference by a  free and impartial referendum or Election for a constitutional Assembly under the supervision of the UN according to its resolution of 13th Aug. 1948. This is the only solution to avoid any future conflict between, Pakistan, India, China, Russia, USA or Europe in the future.

Abdul Hamid Khan
Chairman
Balawaristan National Front (BNF)