South-asia
After developments in J&K, Gilgit Baltistan Awareness Forum to hold conference to discuss 'constitutional status' of region

Bangladesh Live News | @banglalivenews | 21 Aug 2019

Weeks after the Indian government scrapped the Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, activists from 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 and has remained undefined in Pakistan's Constitution, have called for a national conference to discuss for the region's national identity.

The conference has been arranged by a group named Gilgit Baltistan Awareness Forum and will discuss the issue of granting a constitutional status to the region.

As per their Facebook page, the forum describes themselves as 'A Thought Provoking Team Of Gilgit Baltistan Students'.

 

The conference will be held in Gilgit on Aug 25.

 

The forum has invited Molana Sultan Raes, Chairman, Awami Action Committee Gilgit Baltistan)*  to address participants.

 

Why the Forum is important?

 

Pakistan had been facing difficulties in governing Gilgit-Baltistan, which was a multi-lingual Shia-dominated region unlike Sunni and Punjabi-dominated Pakistan. Following the humiliation in the 1971 war, Pakistan carved out a separate region of Gilgit-Baltistan, renamed it as Northern Territory and placed it under direct rule of the federal government, reported India Today.

 

The region of Kashmir Valley remained as Azad Kashmir in Pakistani political lexicon. In 1974, Pakistan notified a rule overriding the 1927 law promulgated by the Maharaja (king) of Jammu and Kashmir that denied property ownership to outsiders. It was the same right that was ensured through Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and was in force until revoked on August 5 this year, reported the Indian magazine.

 

Gilgit-Baltistan has a legislative assembly. However, it enjoys limited powers.

 

The Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan in the government of Pakistan governs it.

 

The council, which is headed by the PM of Pakistan, enjoys the real power.

 

According to a report published in India Today, while Pakistan lays claim to the territories of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, legally, its constitution does not recognise them as parts of the country.

 

"In 1994, Indian Parliament adopted a resolution reiterating that Gilgit-Baltistan and PoK are Indian territories occupied illegally by Pakistan. In 2017, the British Parliament, too, adopted a resolution stating that Gilgit-Baltistan legally belongs to India by virtue of accession of princely state of Jammu and Kashmir to India," reported the magazine.




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