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Gilgit Baltistan: entangled inclusions | Instant News


With the unequal sovereignty accorded to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and within it especially to Gilgit Baltistan (GB), the region finds itself in a state of constitutional neglect.

Pakistan’s constitution does not refer to GB or Aazad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) as part of the country’s territory, but the Pakistan Survey describes GB as Pakistani territory. Political leaders in the predominantly Shia GB have demanded that the region be integrated as Pakistan’s fifth province or considered for true autonomy. And a minority demands that GB be part of the AJK. But the Pakistani state has responded to these demands with nominal reform.

On 15 November 2020, elections were held in 23 of the 24 constituencies in GB. There is speculation that with elections holding Imran Khan’s government intends to integrate occupied GB into Pakistan, making it the fifth province. This stems from a statement made by the Pakistani minister Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs’ Ali Amin Gandapur, quoted such as stating that the Khan government has decided to “elevate Gilgit-Baltistan to full provincial status with all constitutional rights, including its representation in the Senate and National Assembly.” India has “rejected” Pakistan’s proposal to upgrade GB’s status to a provisional province, denouncing the vote as a joke and aims to hide Pakistan’s illegal occupation of its territory.

The current election round is the third in the region since reforms created a legislative assembly in GB with very limited legislative powers. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won its first election held in 2009, followed by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in 2015. Earlier this year, when the PML-N government completed its five-year term, the government appointed a former Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Mir Afzal, as interim Chief Minister of GB.

The third Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) will have 33 members. The seven districts that held elections for 23 of the 24 constituencies were Gilgit, Hunza-Naga, Skardu, Astore, Diamir, Ghizer and Ghanche. With six constituencies, Skardu has the largest representation. Six seats are reserved for women and three for technocrats and other professional members.

The unusual delay in vote counting led to large-scale protests across GB, with allegations of fraud and accusations by candidates that the local election commission had delayed and manipulated the results. With five of the six winning independent candidates joining Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan’s party is poised to form a government. P.

Chairman of PP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari accused of fraud in large-scale elections, “We will tell people that the slogan Vote according to the daaka namanzoor gaining momentum at GB. PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz claimed PTI won seats through ‘cheating’, ‘bullying’ and with the help of turncoats. The allegations of fraud forced a recount of votes for certain constituencies. There were reports that paramilitary reinforcements had to be called after protesters took to the streets in Gilgit.

The GBLA came into effect on 9 September 2009, when President Asif Ali Zardari signed the Gilgit-Baltistan (Empowerment and Self-Government) Order. The order officially changed the so-called ‘Northern Territory’ name to GB and provided a 33-member legislative assembly with an elected chief minister. The trial is prohibited from discussing any issues relating to foreign affairs, defense, internal security and the Pakistani government’s fiscal plans and the conduct of the Judges of the Gilgit-Baltistan Supreme Court of Appeal, with the power to enact laws on 61 subjects. The act is also GB’s Supreme Court of Appeal, being the highest Court of Appeal in the region.

Covering approximately 72,971 sq km, GB celebrated its independence from the ruling Dogra family in Kashmir on November 1, following an uprising in the Maharaja forces, and Pakistan has controlled GB since 1948. Formerly called the Federal Administered Northern Territory (FANA), GB was separated from AJK on 1970s and never had self-government. While people in the region want to have legislative powers that are compatible with other provinces in Pakistan, the government has always been separate.

An important first step towards political empowerment in the region is the enactment of the ‘Gilgit Baltistan (GB) Empowerment and Self-Governance Order of 2009’ reserved for the Legislative Council. But the next GB order announced by Imran Khan’s government on 21 May 2018, deprives any “negligible powers” that had been delegated to the region under the 2009 order. The order grants more power to the prime minister, giving him final authority over legislation. -invited.

Harshly criticized by rights groups, the move, designed to deprive the people of GB’s basic constitutional and political rights, has been dubbed the ‘GB Emperor Order’ on social media. The command stated, “The Prime Minister will have the power to adopt amendments to existing laws or new laws that apply.” As the head of Pakistan’s administration, the prime minister does not have the power to make laws, nor does he enjoy such powers in the other four provinces. Considering that the people of GB have no representation in Pakistan’s federal legislature or any say in electing the prime minister, this extension of his role is essentially ultra-constitutional.

The UN Security Council resolution recognizes GB as part of the disputed territory. But Pakistan has continued with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and promised the GB community huge economic benefits from the corridor, which covers nearly 600 sq km in the region. The GB order is intended to waive any requests for self-determination by people in the region; with almost no authority to regulate major matters. The GB sequence of 2018 is by no means a genuine compromise. All real power over all legislative affairs goes to the GB Council in Islamabad, which is chaired by the prime minister of Pakistan. This is also further limited by the 2018 order, under which the GB Council’s powers were also taken and it was assigned only as an advisory role.

Although two decades have passed since local residents of GB filed a petition in Pakistan’s Supreme Court, drawing attention to political marginalization in the region, it was only in 2015, that India filed an objection to CPEC bypassing PoK, then led by the PML-N government formed a committee chaired by National Security Adviser Sartaj Aziz in 2015 to look at GB’s constitutional future. The region’s “disputed” categorization has acted as a trigger for the current regime to enforce a January 2019 Supreme Court decision to explicitly restore GB’s 2018 order, which was suspended by GB’s Supreme Court of Appeal. The decision has paved the way for increased control by Islamabad over the GB administration by increasing the quota of Pakistani civil servants to be stationed there and even GB’s top court judges will be withdrawn from among retired judges in Pakistan.

By holding elections in GB, Pakistan tries to solidify its claim to the territory without fulfilling the region’s request for self-determination. If it will be Pakistan’s fifth province, will it be treated equally with other provinces, and if not Pakistan accepts that it remains a “disputed province”? The jurisdiction of GB courts remains limited to territories, limiting their authority. This leaves cases involving violations of the basic rights of GB people unchecked. Schedule IV and the Anti-Terrorism Act are used to crush civilian dissent by arresting people and censoring them if they express their political views.

This year on his speech to the people on November 1, Imran Khan spoke of the beauty of GB’s majestic mountains and stunning landscapes, amid criticism from the opposition and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In his narrative, Khan has deliberately set aside the real problems and lack of political freedom plaguing GB society. His administration narrative tries to offer CPEC a cure for all GB problems, without the appropriate political developments.

Time for this declaration of GB and interest in declaring it as a fifth province, along with China’s CPEC whose starting point is the region. The region’s disputed legal status is a curse for Pakistan and China in enforcing CPEC.

As a stakeholder in the Kashmir conflict, the Prime Minister of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, Raja Farooq Haider, felt that the merger of Gilgit-Baltistan with Pakistan as his province would derail Kashmir’s struggle for self-determination. Former ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Basit was recently tweeted a cautionary note to the Khan government, “My advice for Islamabad – think carefully about GB. A step taken in reaction to what India did to the IOK would create controversy that could have been avoided. Don’t inflame beehives and undermine Pakistan’s principled position on dispute. “

Both the Indian and Pakistani governments have approved the text of the UN Security Council resolution on Kashmir, which has been endorsed repeatedly by the Council and by successive UN representatives. For India, the demilitarization of Pakistan in occupied territory is a precondition for the implementation of UN resolutions.

Although the decision to integrate GB as Pakistan’s fifth province has been announced, there is still a lot of ambiguity regarding its future. If it is “debatable”, is it subject to a future vote, and if it is a fifth province, is its constitutional status on par with the rest of Pakistan?

Vaishali Basu Sharma has worked as a consultant at the Secretariat of the National Security Council (NSCS) for several years, and is currently associated with the New Delhi-based Policy Perspectives Foundation.

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Putri Benazir Bhutto Officially Entered Pakistani Politics | Voice of America | Instant News


ISLAMABAD – Waving her hand, chanting party slogans and making a victory sign Monday in Pakistan’s downtown Multan, the youngest daughter of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto reminded people of her great mother.

“I don’t think the content of his speech is as important as his aura, which generates the same feelings and energy as his mother,” said Nusrat Javed, a senior Pakistani journalist who has spent decades with three generations of the Bhutto family. .

This is the official launch of 27 year old Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari into politics, almost by chance. He replaces his brother, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who is under quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 and unable to lead his party in a previously planned opposition rally.

Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari made a winning mark for the crowd. Standing beside him is former Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

The coincidence of chance has its own meaning, said Sherry Rehman, a senior leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and a close political associate of the late Benazir Bhutto.

“Circumstances always catapult key members of the Bhutto family into the political mainstream in Pakistan,” Rehman said, pointing out that both Benazir and Bilawal “found political life to elect them, not the other way around.”

Benazir Bhutto was forced to join politics when his father’s prime minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was overthrown in a military coup, was jailed and executed. She then headed the PPP, which her father founded, and became the first female head of government in a Muslim-majority country.

Bilawal, always considered to be his mother’s heir, was prematurely pushed onto the political scene when Benazir was assassinated in 2007.

Her two younger sisters, Bakhtawar and Aseefa, mostly live on the sidelines, only investigating political commentary on social media. Meanwhile, Aseefa, who has a master’s degree in global health from University College London, has established herself as a health activist. He became the UN ambassador for polio eradication.

FILE – Bakhtawar Bhutto (left), Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (center), and Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, children of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 23, 2010.

The three siblings have been exposed to politics since childhood. While Bakhtawar has shown little interest in pursuing a life as a politician, Aseefa seems to have had him even as a child, according to Sohail Warraich, a senior Pakistani journalist and analyst.

“I remember Mohtarma (Benazir Bhutto) telling me that as a child, when Aseefa wanted to change schools, she would make placards with slogans and display them around the house,” she said.

Members of Pakistan’s ruling Tehreek-e-Insaf Party, or PTI, called Aseefa’s political debut a continuation of the PPP dynastic politics.

“The People’s Party only has one rhetoric. They wanted to blush Bhutto’s name, both Benazir Bhutto and his father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. But I think a lot of water flows under the bridge, ”said Fawad Hussain Chaudhry, federal minister for science and technology.

He added that the PPP needed to “rethink its politics”, as well as improve governance in the Sindh province where it ruled, or risk losing the next election.

The opposition, conglomerates of various opposition parties that have joined hands against the government under the umbrella of the Democratic Movement of Pakistan (PDM), has also received widespread criticism for continuing massive political gatherings at a time when new COVID-19 cases surge. Pakistan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted that opposition leaders do not care about the lives and safety of ordinary people and accused them of using politics as a cover to avoid being held accountable for past corruption.

“Now, their only goal & despair is to save their family’s plundered wealth & corruption which they are an integral part of,” he said on Twitter.

PDM leaders accuse the government of using the spread of the new coronavirus as an excuse to halt opposition activities, even when they hold large gatherings of their own.

The government has banned gatherings of more than 300 people until the virus is brought under control and threatens the opposition with arrests if they violate protocol.

“They think we are afraid of being arrested. They are wrong. If they arrest our brothers and sisters, remember, every woman in the Pakistan People’s Party is ready to go to war, “Aseefa Bhutto said in her debut speech.

Aseefa is also the closest to her mother physically. He also inherited the qualities of both his maternal grandparents, said Javed, the journalist.

“He triggered the accumulation of memories (from the Bhutto family) in a very strong way,” he said.

His presence at party rallies, he said, may become a necessity if the party is to capitalize on the “kind of forgotten energy” it generates.





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A useless battle between Pakistan’s ruling elite | Instant News




George Orwell wrote in his famous novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, “Strength is tearing apart the human mind and putting it back together in a new form of your own choosing.” The power to shape and shape narratives determines who wins the throne of a nation, or which superpower rules the world.

In Pakistan, we are witnessing a narrative war in which the opposition parties, the government led by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and the military are all trying to create favorable perceptions of themselves.

Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of opposition parties, on Monday in the city of Multan, Punjab province, staged its fifth party public meeting against the central government and its supporters. The Punjab PTI government has created hurdles and arrested many opposition workers and as a result, the crowd is not as good as seen at the last few PDM rallies.

As expected, Prime Minister Imran Khan and his team used the Covid-19 pandemic to their advantage and succeeded in reducing mass participation in Multan’s rally. Meanwhile, the PDM seems less interested in understanding its responsibility not to spread Covid-19 in a country with a fragile health system.

So this narrative war between the opposition and the hybrid regime has not only resulted in recklessness about the pandemic but has polarized the country to an alarming degree.



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Nankana Sahib and Katarpur are for Sikhs like Makkah and Madina for Muslims, PM Khan | Instant News


Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his video message, assured the Sikh community that the government will fully protect their holy sites in Pakistan, including the two holiest in Nankana Sahib and Katarpur. He congratulated the Sikh community on his 551th birth birthday from Baba Dev Guru Nanak.

The two sites are as sacred to Sikhs as Mecca and Medina to Muslims, the prime minister said, stressing that the incumbent government would provide every possible assistance and facilities to the Sikh community.

“Pakistan recently refurbished the Hassan Abdal train station to facilitate pilgrims who wanted to visit the sacred Punja Sahib,” he recalled.

Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated that all religious sites in the country will be provided with protection, adding that the PTI-led government policy is to protect all religious minorities in Pakistan as well as their holy sites, be they churches, temples or Buddhist monasteries. .

PM Khan has made every effort to address the problems facing religious minorities in Pakistan. However, the Indian regime has turned into a difficult place for religious minorities – especially for Muslims – where freedom of expression faces serious threats, opinion experts.

PM Modi takes credit for Sikhs right?

Modi’s BJP has shown little interest in the construction of the Kartarpur corridor. There have been various baseless accusations leveled against Pakistan by New Delhi and violations of Pakistani airspace. Despite all the tactics used by the BJP, Pakistan did not decide to close the corridor.

Later, however, the Indian prime minister declared himself a supporter of Sikh rights, arranging to open a corridor for them. The Indian prime minister’s remarks irked the Sikh Community. Ravinder Pal Singh Timma, President of the Gursikh Welfare Association, told local media in Agra that this corridor is the brainchild of the association and they have been trying to get sanctions approved by the Pakistani government for the last 19 years.

He also showed me some past documentation and correspondence he had personally with the foreign ministries of both India and Pakistan, Mr Timma said that “What the BJP is doing now, is taking credit for the fruits that Sikh efforts have borne. . The Sikh community has never accepted its share in this country and is always cheated. 87 percent of the martyrs in the struggle for independence were from Punjab, but the Sikh community was never respected. “

Read more: The world is eyeing the Kartarpur Corridor because it brings nations closer

He said he had even spoken to then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf during the Agra Summit and requested that the Kartarpur temple be given to India, or declared a Land of No Man and a corridor built from the Indian border to the temple.

Religious Minorities in India

The rise of Hindutva in India has marginalized minority religions in India. According to some reports, the main targets of the BJP thug mob violence were Muslims but sometimes Sikhs who were believed to be ideologically foreign were also beaten.

The 2018 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom released by Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, in June stated that “Hindu groups have used violence, intimidation, and abuse against low-caste Muslims and Dalits in 2017 to coerce religious-based citizens. identity.”

Read more: UN Secretary General meets Sikhs in Kartarpur Corridor, Praising Pakistan

It is important to remember that the RSS does not believe that Sikhs are a distinct religious community. The RSS’s insistence that Sikhs are ‘Hindu Kesadhari’ despite being ‘brave’ hurt the latter’s religious sentiment and question their distinctive identity in so-called secular India. Interestingly, there is a strong belief among Sikhs that the RSS is actively conspiring to destroy their religion through various direct and indirect means to erase them.





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More Tourism Can Help Eradicate Poverty: Imran Khan | Instant News


Thanks to PID

The Pakistani prime minister directed relevant officials to restore tourist sites, removing encroachment to attract more visitors

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said Pakistan’s natural resources had great tourism potential, adding that promoting the sector could help the government strengthen the national economy and eradicate poverty.

Chairing a meeting of the National Tourism Coordinating Committee in Islamabad, he directed relevant officials to restore tourist sites to their original condition by eliminating encroachment, improving cleanliness and allowing construction only in approved layouts.

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, Khan also directed the construction of chairlifts or walking trails in all major tourist spots to reduce car use and encourage the preservation of natural beauty. He said legislation had to be made for the timely resolution of all issues.

Apart from the prime minister, Special Assistant PM for Pakistan Rantau Zulfikar Bukhari, Chief Minister Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan, Advisor to Chief Minister of Punjab Asif Mahmood, and chief secretaries of all provinces, as well as Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan Kashmir -admintered, attended the meeting.

Meeting participants were briefed on the steps of the Punjab government to improve the Taxila and Lahore museums; developing Gurdwara Panja Sahib with financial assistance from the World Bank; reopening Attock Fort for tourists; remove trash from all major sites; and launching mobile applications for 511 government-designated tourist attractions.

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government says it has outsourced 144 official residences for tourism; encroachment dismantled at major tourist sites; developing new tourist attractions; and extended loan facilities to local residents for the construction of hotels for tourists. Pakistan-administered Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir also informed the prime ministers of steps being taken by their governments to promote tourism.

The Sindh government, meanwhile, said it had initiated geo-mapping of 868 tourist attractions; making arrangements for a Thar Desert safari; and taking steps to promote tourism on Kenjhar Lake. The meeting was also given a briefing on the construction of five coastal parks and different steps for tourism promotion in Balochistan.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, since taking office, has insisted that promoting tourism is one of his government’s top priorities, seeing it as a means of boosting the country’s economy.



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