Gilgit-Baltistan — change of status by Pak over the years


PTI, Aug 18, 2019, 4:58 PM IST

New Delhi: Pakistan’s outbursts against India’s decision to revoke special status to Jammu and Kashmir and split the state into two Union Territories have put a renewed focus on northern areas of Gilgit-Baltistan.

A brief chronology about Gilgit-Baltistan:

Gilgit-Baltistan, which is part of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and an integral part of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir that legally acceded to India in 1947, has remained undefined in Pakistan’s Constitution.

In November 1947, two British officers carry out a coup in the region and request Pakistan to take control over the area. In August 1948, the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP) resolution seeks withdrawal of Pakistani regular and irregular troops from the occupied portions of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

UN records state that by January 1949, Pakistan held military control over the Northern Areas; the area being administered by local authorities, not those of the Jammu and Kashmir government, with the assistance of Pakistani officials.

In 1949 the Karachi agreement is signed between MA Gurmani, Minister without Portfolio in the Pakistan government, and Sardar Mohammed Ibrahim Khan, President of so called ‘Azad Jammu-Kashmir’.

This agreement gives total control over the region to Islamabad. In the same year, Pakistan separates the administration of Gilgit-Baltistan from ‘Azad J&K’ and introduces the Frontier Crimes Regulation in the region.

In 1952, a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs is appointed Political Resident for the Northern Areas.

In 1967, a Resident is appointed with two Political Agents, one each for Gilgit and Baltistan.

In March 1963, Pakistan gives away the Shaksgam Valley, which is part of Gilgit-Baltistan, to China under a bilateral agreement.

First ‘elections’ are held in Gilgit-Baltistan in 1970 for the Northern Areas Advisory Council of 16 members.

In 1972, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto introduces the ‘reform package’ for the Northern Areas. Martial law is imposed in 1977 and extended to Northern Areas.

Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto introduces the so-called Northern Areas order of 1994. The same order is renamed the Legal Framework order by President Musharraf in 2007.

The Zardari regime terms it the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order, 2009. This order establishes the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly and the Gilgit-Baltistan Council.

The 2009 order rests all administrative, political and judicial authority with the Governor, which makes him the supreme authority.

In the 2009 elections to the Assembly, the PPP wins a two-thirds majority. In the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) election the PML(N) wins 15 of the 23 seats in the Army supervised poll held on June 8, 2015.

In January 2016, Pakistan at the behest of China considers the option of making Gilgit-Baltistan the fifth province of Pakistan.

The Governor has full powers to appoint and fire officers of apex departments and is authorized to approve the budget, dissolve the Cabinet and Assembly and impose emergency.

India’s position has been that the whole of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir including Gilgit-Baltistan is a part of India.

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