Gilgit-Baltistan Discussion


T20I Debutant
Apr 1, 2011
Post of the Week
Make Gilgit-Baltistan the fifth province of Pakistan

The people of Gilgit-Baltistan have always been unequivocal defending their association with Pakistan. Although the region is not a constitutional part of the country, it has never lagged behind any other province in terms of sacrifices for the sovereignty of the state. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan have never complained about their miseries despite having no right to cast votes,no representation in the national assembly or senate, and a strong sense of deprivation in many other fields where other provinces enjoy constitutional rights.

In 1948, the Republic of Gilgit-Baltistan emerged on the map of the world and survived only for a couple of weeks. The people of the region fought their own war against the tyrannical regime of Dogra Raj and won their freedom. Because of the political circumstances that included a lack of resources, governance skills and political leadership, the victorious freedom fighters opted to accede to Pakistan unconditionally.

Until the first tenure of Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Gilgit-Baltistan was taken for granted. Bhutto abrogated the fiefdom system and FCR (Frontier Crimes Regulations) and gave the people of the region a certain level of independence. Employment opportunities were provided and unemployment was almost brought to zero. His revolutionaryre forms are hailed by friends and foes alike. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan therefore endorse the idea that their region should be a Pakistan People's Party stronghold where the party is even stronger than Sindh. In 2009, the PPP swept the elections in the region and is now the major ruling party.

In the four wars that Pakistan has fought with India, some of the best soldiers in Pakistan Army were from Gilgit-Baltistan. They fought for the country despite knowing their constitutional status. For them, passports and ID cards were just pieces of paper. A major part of the forces that defended Azad Jammu and Kashmir in 1948 was from Gilgit-Baltistan. Ironically, Azad Kashmir has enjoyed a status of a semi state for decades and Gilgit-Baltistan, then Northern Areas of Pakistan, suffered with an identity crisis for decades.

The Kargil War is also an evidence of the love of the people of the region with Pakistan. In 1999, hundreds of soldiers of the Northern Light Infantry sacrificed their lives and fought in extreme conditions to capture Kargil, but they were labeled militants and mujahideen. They stood by their country despite being disowned. Lalak Jan, who fought with extraordinary valor in Kargil and was awarded Pakistan's highest military honor Nishan-e-Haider, was from Gilgit-Baltistan.

And although there are separatist movements in some parts of Pakistan, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan have always remained loyal to Pakistan.

But 65 years is a long period of time to wait for the right of casting a vote of having a representative in Islamabad. It doesn't even take more than a few years to be granted the nationality of countries like the US and UK.It is unfortunate that 80% of Pakistanis don't even know the status of Gilgit-Baltistan, although they always speak for the rights of the people of Indian-administered Kashmir. The sovereignty of Gilgit-Baltistan is much more important for Pakistan than that of Srinagar.

Considering the sacrifices and loyalty of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan and considering the strategic important of the region, it should be given the status of Pakistan's fifth province. It is the gateway to the natural resources of the Central Asian states and the progressive state of Chinathat is a major source of economic stability for Pakistan. The region itself is rich in gold, uranium and gems. Its second largest water reservoirs in the world outside Antarctica and the North Pole make it a lifeline for Pakistan's agriculture and can be used to make 50,000 megawatts of electricity. Gilgit-Baltistan is blessed with the tallest mountain peaks in the world, having the potential of attracting millions of dollars in adventure tourism.

It is essential that the legislators, think tanks and policy makers in Pakistan resolve this issue on a priority basis, before there is a sense of deprivation in the region similar to the former East Pakistan or Balochistan.

Dr Zaeem Zia is a Health Policy scholar at the University of Oklahoma, USA. He can be contacted at and tweets as @ZaeemZia.

If I'm not wrong, the majority of the shohada who lost their lives in (or perhaps for) Siachen were from Gilgit-Baltistan (Northern Light Infantry regiment.)
Nice video about Havildar Lalak Jan Shaheed :

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
This Government (one of the few very good acts) gave GB 'Provincial Status', they have a Chief Minister so i suppose they're like an 'unofficial Province'...

And although there are separatist movements in some parts of Pakistan, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan have always remained loyal to Pakistan.

A couple of people (representing like 200 people) sitting in Kabul, London and Delhi all from one Province doesnt really means 'some parts of Pakistan' tbh
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This Government (one of the few very good acts) gave GB 'Provincial Status', they have a Chief Minister so i suppose they're like an 'unofficial Province'...

A couple of people (representing like 200 people) sitting in Kabul, London and Delhi all from one Province doesnt really means 'some parts of Pakistan' tbh
Brahmadagh's in Bombay.
The status of GB is being discussed in the Supreme Court right now. Next hearing is on June 18th.
PM Imran Khan has decided to elevate the status of Gilgit-Baltistan as a full fledge province of Pakistan. The formal announcement will be made soon.
This is well overdue. Finally the people of GB will start being treated as equal with other Pakistanis.

However one does wonder whether this is simply a reaction to Modi's manoevres in Kashmir
Gilgit-Baltistan is a beautiful place. Good to see it becoming a province.
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So does this mean that Gilgit Baltistan is the 6th province of Pakistan?
So does this mean that Gilgit Baltistan is the 6th province of Pakistan?

No, there are numerous constitutional steps to go through before that happens. Need to pass a constitutional amendment along with delimitation of assembly and senate seats. It’s not a short process. Also it wouldn’t be 6th province. At the moment only 4 provinces. It will become the 5th.

My own suspicion is that the government will try to create two provinces, the other being South Punjab, via 1 constitutional amendment bill towards the end of their 4th year in government.
I do hope they’ve consulted the stakeholders in AJK about this, given how there is a certain school of thought there that would be opposed to this move. Their contention is that since the areas that constitute GB were part of the princely state of J&K, integrating it into the federation while the Kashmir issue remains unresolved is unacceptable. This, in spite of the fact that AJK and GB have been governed separately for decades now, and the people in GB resent being considered part of the issue. Nevertheless, it would be worthwhile gauging the reaction in AJK if that hasn’t already been done.

Intra-Kashmiri dynamics across the LOC are fascinating: there are some in AJK who insist on a separate identity from the Kashmir valley, but there are others still who insist on a claim over GB.
By the way, there’s quite a bit of PR potential with this move: something along the lines of, the Humsaaya Mulk has downgraded the status of J&K and Ladakh on their side, from state to union territory, whereas we are elevating GB up to full province.
No, there are numerous constitutional steps to go through before that happens. Need to pass a constitutional amendment along with delimitation of assembly and senate seats. It’s not a short process. Also it wouldn’t be 6th province. At the moment only 4 provinces. It will become the 5th.

My own suspicion is that the government will try to create two provinces, the other being South Punjab, via 1 constitutional amendment bill towards the end of their 4th year in government.

why should south punjab be a separate province? It makes no sense,
why should south punjab be a separate province? It makes no sense,

PMLN, PTI both support a south Punjab province but I think PTI will lose the rest of the Punjab if they create this province...

So this province has mainstream support
why should south punjab be a separate province? It makes no sense,

Punjab's population is considered too massive for one province to govern. Also, there is wide support among all political parties for Punjab to become 2 provinces. The current PTI government also put in their manifesto that a South Punjab (place holder name, to be decided later) would created in this term. They also won the support of quite a few MNA's from sourthern Punjab by promising a new province for that part. Infact, this is probably the only thing all the political parties support. The only discussion will be about where the boundary is.
Pakistan needs more Provinces, most countries around the world have 10-12 states, provinces and we are still stuck on 4
I’ve always wanted a Potohar-Hazara-AJK province. Make it happen already.
It's pretty funny to see verified Indian accounts on twitter taking about Kashmiri rights and standing up for GB lol. Do these guys have any self-awareness or shame? Do they think people from Gilgit don't know what India does in Jammu and Kashmir?

Even if some locals in GB are against the province, I doubt any of them would want to be with India or even want Indian support. I mean the Kashmiris in Indian territory don't like India then why would the ones in Pakistan?
It's pretty funny to see verified Indian accounts on twitter taking about Kashmiri rights and standing up for GB lol. Do these guys have any self-awareness or shame? Do they think people from Gilgit don't know what India does in Jammu and Kashmir?

Even if some locals in GB are against the province, I doubt any of them would want to be with India or even want Indian support. I mean the Kashmiris in Indian territory don't like India then why would the ones in Pakistan?

They resent even being considered part of the Kashmir dispute. They would balk at having to share a future province or state with Kashmir, or even AJK.
It’s pretty funny to see verified Indian accounts on twitter taking about Kashmiri rights and standing up for GB lol. Do these guys have any self-awareness or shame? Do they think people from Gilgit don’t know what India does in Jammu and Kashmir?

Even if some locals in GB are against the province, I doubt any of them would want to be with India or even want Indian support. I mean the Kashmiris in Indian territory don’t like India then why would the ones in Pakistan?

Some accounts across the border are even spreading news of an uprising against Pakistan and pro-India chants :91:

‘Just make it up as you go along’ is their motto :19:
Mind sharing these gems? :))


Here’s a specimen.

Many of the overseas ‘Pakistanis’ living in Europe, etc., who moan about “PoK” are suddenly concerned about GB too. :(

Here’s a specimen.

Many of the overseas ‘Pakistanis’ living in Europe, etc., who moan about “PoK” are suddenly concerned about GB too. :(

This is hilarious stuff. They should tell this to the vast majority Mirpuri British Pakistani population about how they'd feel being part of India
ISLAMABAD: The PML-N and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) have refused to attend a parliamentary leaders meeting called by Speaker Asad Qaiser to discuss proposals regarding the upcoming Gilgit-Baltistan elections.

The session has been convened by Qaiser tomorrow. Opposition leader and PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif reacted to the development by stating that Gilgit-Baltistan is a sensitive and national issue, and that it is connected with the Kashmir cause.

In a statement issued on the upcoming elections in the area, Shehbaz demanded that the federal government should not obstruct the process of transparent and free elections in GB.

He said that considering the government's attitude, his party has decided not to cooperate with them in any way for the GB polls.

The PML-N president further said that the speaker of the National Assembly has no authority to interfere in the electoral affairs of Gilgit-Baltistan.

Shehbaz said that he would abide by the resolutions and decisions passed at the All Parties Conference meeting.

Meanwhile, the JUI-F also withdrew from attending the meeting.

Read more: GB election commission issues schedule for Nov 15 polls

On the other hand, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, while condemning the interference of the Centre in the general elections, said that the speaker and federal ministers have nothing to do with the elections in Gilgit-Baltistan.

"The Speaker National Assembly and Federal ministers have nothing to do with elections in GB. We condemn the interference of the federal government in the elections," the PPP leader wrote on Twitter, clarifying that the party will only be engaging with the Election Commission GB on our demands for fair elections.

Earlier on Thursday, the Election Commission of Gilgit Baltistan had issued the election schedule for the region's legislative assembly that will be held on November 15 of this year.

As per the schedule, candidates can submit their nomination papers for the elections from September 15 till September 30 for the legislative assembly. The list of the candidates who submit will their nomination papers will be issued on October 1.
COAS Bajwa visits GB, inaugurates Software Technology Park

(Karachi) Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Gilgit-Baltistan and inaugurated state of the art Software Technology Park, a statement issued by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) stated on Tuesday.

The ISPR stated that the technology park is an initiative of Special Communication Organisation (SCO). “The facility will help create environment for research and innovation in the fields of IT and defence communication by honing and harnessing the skills of our brilliant youth,” it added.

“It will serve as a trigger for development of cyber industry in the area,” the ISPR said.

Acknowledging efforts of SCO, the COAS said that establishment of IT clusters in remote areas will have a great effect by encouraging innovation and digitisation.

Earlier on arrival at Skardu, COAS Bajwa was briefed on latest situation and operational preparations of FCNA troops deployed along LOC. The COAS appreciated their high morale, operational readiness under challenging environment and harsh weather conditions.

The army chief also emphasised to ensure highest levels of readiness for effectively responding to emerging threats.
Gilgit-Baltistan’s election odds: Who is likely to win?

Voters in Gilgit-Baltistan will head to the polls on November 15, over two years after the general election in Pakistan.

Gilgit-Baltistan has a total of 745,361 registered voters of which 54% are male. A total of 24 seats are up for grabs in 10 districts of the northern administrative unit, according to the Election Commission of Pakistan.

For these 24 seats, 548 candidates originally filed their papers. Of these, however, 218 later withdrew from the race, according to APP.

Of those vying for a win, 24 candidates each have been fielded by the ruling-Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), 22 by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), 13 by the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q), 12 by the Jamiat Ulema-e-Isam-Fazl (JUI-F), eight by the Islami Tehreek Pakistan (ITP), four by the Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen(MWM) and three by the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).

One woman each has been awarded a ticket for the general seats by the PTI, PPP and MWM.

Going by past polls, the political party in the Center usually sweeps Gilgit-Baltistan, but the PPP can give the PTI a tough time.

Interestingly, the MWM and the PTI have also named joint candidates in some constituencies.

Going by past polls, the political party in the Center usually sweeps Gilgit-Baltistan.

This is likely to be the case this time too as four heavy weights from the PML-N have crossed over and joined the rival PTI. Still, the PPP has a solid footing in the area and is likely to give the ruling party a tough time.

Who are the most prominent candidates?

Jaffar Allah (Ex Deputy Speaker GB Assembly) – PML-N

Hafiz Hafeez ur Rehman (Former Chief
Minister) – PML-N

Javed Iqbal – PML-N

Rizwan Ali – PTI

Syed Mehdi Shah (Former Chief Minister) – PTI

Mahmood Kazim – PTI

Fida Muhammad Nishad (Ex Speaker GB Assembly) – PTI

Wazir Hassan – PTI

Syed Amjad Ali Zaidi – PTI

Imran Nadeem – PPP

Muhammad Khalid Khurshed Khan – PTI
Shamsul Haq – PTI

Noshad Ali – PTI

Ateeq ullah Advocate – PTI

Haider Khan – PTI

Gulbar Khan (Ex Minister) – PTI

Nawaz Khan Naji – Independent

Dr Ali Sher (Ex Minister) – PPP

Mohammad Ayub – PPP

Ghulam Hussain – PML-N

Ibrahim Sanai (Ex Minister) - PTI
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said that the fact that the opposition was criticising the chiefs of Pakistan Army and Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) proved that he had appointed the right people to the posts.

The premier, who arrived in Gilgit-Baltistan in the afternoon to mark the 73rd Independence Day of the region, was speaking to the attendees and participants of the Azadi Parade.

"If these thieves [opposition] are speaking against them, it means they [chiefs] are the right people," he said, responding to the recent remarks from the opposition camp.

PML-N supremo and disqualified prime minister Nawaz Sharif, in his speeches from London while addressing the anti-government rallies of Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), alleged that Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed orchestrated his government's ouster and rigged the general elections to "impose the ‘incompetent’ Imran Khan" on the nation.

The premier as well government ministers reacted strongly to Nawaz's accusations and blasted the opposition parties for "promoting the enemies’ narrative and attacking the state institutions".

"I am very happy that I am here for a second time to celebrate this day with you and it will be my effort for as long as I am prime minister to spend this day with you," he said at the start of his address after taking part in the parade.

"I want to pay tribute to GB scouts and those shuhada (martyrs) who gave sacrifices and freed this region. I wanted to congratulate people of GB on another thing: our decision to give GB provincial status. This decision has been taken while keeping in view the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions."

He said he could not speak in detail about a development package because of the upcoming elections but assured the people that his government would prioritise helping the poor and people from underdeveloped areas.

GB visit

The prime minister will visit the national park in Astore and review the work being done on the Diamer-Bhasha dam, according to the Prime Minister's Office.

Every year on November 1, the region of Gilgit-Baltistan officially celebrates its independence from Kashmir’s Dogra family rule. Gilgit was liberated on November 1, 1947 while Baltistan was freed in 1948 as a result of a bloody freedom war.

However, the struggle to integrate the region in Pakistan continues.

Various governments in Pakistan have tried in the past to regulate the issues of GB through reforms and executive orders. Recently, the region has come under the spotlight again when the federal government announced plans to give GB provincial status.

The decision to make GB a province of Pakistan was taken about four months ago, said Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur on Saturday. “It was amazing for me to hear that the GB people had liberated themselves from the Dogra rule and decided to annex the region to Pakistan unconditionally,” he said.

Source DAWN
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Pakistan on Sunday categorically rejected the "irresponsible and unwarranted" statement regarding Gilgit-Baltistan by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, saying that reforms announced by the government for the region reflect the will of the indigenous population.

"Administrative, political and economic reforms are a long-standing demand of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. The envisaged provisional reforms reflect the aspirations of the indigenous populace of Gilgit-Baltistan," read a statement issued by the Foreign Office.

"India has no locus standi whatsoever on the issue — legal, moral or historical," the statement added.

It went on to state that India, for 73 years, has illegally and forcibly occupied parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

"Regurgitation of false and fabricated claims by India can neither change the facts nor divert attention from India’s illegal actions and continuing humanitarian crisis resulting from perpetration of the worst human rights violations in [occupied Jammu and Kashmir]," the statement stressed.

It highlighted Pakistan's position on the Jammu and Kashmir issue, saying that it "remains firmly anchored" in the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The Foreign Office said that the final resolution of the dispute is only possible when Kashmiris' will be able to exercise their right to self-determination through a free and impartial plebiscite held by the United Nations.

Pakistan demanded that India "end its illegal and forcible occupation of parts of Jammu & Kashmir and comply with its international obligations by allowing the Kashmiris to exercise [this] inalienable right to self-determination".

The government on Sunday announced it is granting Gilgit-Baltistan a provisional status in the lead up to the elections to its legislative assemblies.

Prime Minister Imran Khan made the announcement, during a visit to the region to attend celebrations for its 73rd Independence Day.

The Indian MEA had issued a statement in response, saying that it rejects the bringing of material changes to the territory.
Islamabad, Pakistan – Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan says his government will grant provisional status to a portion of the disputed territory of Kashmir, drawing condemnation from India and sparking a fresh war of words between the two countries.

The strategically important Gilgit-Baltistan region bordering Afghanistan and China is home to an estimated population of two million people.

Pakistan and India have fought two of their three wars since gaining independence in 1947 over the mountainous territory of Kashmir, which both claim in full but administer separate portions of.

On Sunday, Khan addressed a political rally in the city of Gilgit, capital of the Gilgit-Baltistan region that forms part of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, ahead of planned elections there later this month.

“We have made a decision to grant provisional provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan, which has long been the demand here,” said Khan.

The proposal is unlikely to face opposition within Pakistan, where opposition political parties met secretly with the country’s army and intelligence chiefs in September to discuss the issue, lending their backing to the upgrade of Gilgit-Baltistan’s status, several opposition leaders told Al Jazeera at the time.

In India, however, Khan’s pronouncement was met with a sharp rebuke from the foreign ministry, which said it “firmly rejects” the move.

“I reiterate that the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including the area of so-called ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’, are an integral part of India by virtue of the legal, complete and irrevocable accession of Jammu and Kashmir to the Union of India in 1947,” said Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Shri Anurag Srivastava.

Vital part of $60bn CPEC project

The statement provoked an equally strong response from Pakistan’s foreign ministry, which “categorically reject[ed]” the Indian statement.

“Administrative, political and economic reforms are a long-standing demand of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan,” said a statement released late on Sunday. “The envisaged provisional reforms reflect the aspirations of the indigenous populace of Gilgit-Baltistan.”

Gilgit-Baltistan is a vital part of the $60bn China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), with the project’s major overland crossing at Kashgar, in the territory’s north.

Launched in 2014, CPEC is a set of trade and infrastructure projects that would connect China to the Arabian Sea through road and other transport infrastructure Pakistan, and also includes several power-generation and industrial revival projects.

Gilgit-Baltistan is located in the far north of Pakistan, at the intersection between the Himalaya, Karakorum and Hindu Kush mountain ranges. It is home to some of the highest mountain peaks in the world, including K2, the world’s second-highest mountain.

Currently, the territory is nominally governed by the legislative assembly, for which elections are due on November 15, but that body has few legal powers and the region remains largely governed directly by the federal government in Islamabad.

The upgrade to provisional provincial status would see a more empowered local provincial assembly formed, with broad-ranging administrative and governance powers.
The Foreign Office (FO) on Tuesday rejected the statement made by Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh regarding Gilgit-Baltistan, stating that Delhi had "no locus standi whatsoever on the issue" whether it be historical, legal, or moral.

A day earlier, the Indian minister had said that GB was an "integral part of India" and had lashed out at Prime Minister Imran Khan's announcement regarding granting the region the status of a province.

“Pakistan has illegally occupied GB. Pakistan is going to make it a province now. Our government has clarified that GB, along with the entire Pakistan occupied Kashmir, is an integral part of India,” Singh had said, according to Hindustan Times.

"Gratuitous repetition of false claims by RSS-BJP leaders for political point-scoring can neither change facts nor can they draw attention away from the reprehensible human rights violations being perpetrated against the Kashmiri people by Indian occupation forces in the valley," the FO said in a statement issued today.

"Pakistan’s principled position on the Jammu and Kashmir dispute remains firmly anchored in the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.

"Administrative, political and economic reforms are a long standing demand of the people of GB. The envisaged provisional reforms reflect the aspirations of the indigenous populace of GB," the FO said.

Pakistan also called upon India to immediately end its illegal and forcible occupation of parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

"India must comply with its international obligations by allowing the Kashmiris to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination through a free and impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations as enshrined in the relevant UNSC resolutions," the statement said.

Earlier this week, the FO had categorically rejected a statement by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs regarding GB and termed it “irresponsible and unwarranted”.

The FO spokesman had issued the statement in response to comments made by his Indian counterpart who had "rejected" the premier's announcement about granting GB the provisional status of a province.
PML-N vice-president Maryam Nawaz kick-started weeklong political campaign for the November 15 Gilgit-Baltistan election with a public gathering in Skardu on Thursday.

Maryam began her speech by thanking former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Pervez Rasheed and former GB chief minister Hafiz Hafeez ur Rehman for staying by Nawaz Sharif's side through thick and thin.

"Today, politicking has changed. And it should change," she told the crowd. "Those who remain loyal to their party and aren't sell outs, deserve votes."

"I have heard that out of our 16 candidates, eight or nine have changed loyalties. Remember this when you go out to vote that those who cannot endure pressure, will never stand for the public's rights."

"Promise me you will not vote for those who change their loyalties. Those who backstab their party do not deserve your votes."

"The fake prime minister [Imran Khan] announced to make GB a province. You may be a fake premier but you are still a premier. You don't realise how people are struggling due to inflation."

Blaming the incumbent government for sugar and wheat crisis, Maryam recalled the premier's promise of 10 million jobs. "Has any youth in Skardu found employment? Did he fulfil his promise to provide housing?"

Addressing PM Imran, Maryam said: "you promised "tabdeeli" [change] in nine days. Your promises are fake."

She urged the people of Skardu to send the "lying premier" home. "He is about to go. The last push will be given by the people of GB."

Read more: PML-N's Maryam Nawaz hugs Hamza, Shahbaz at NAB court

GB campaign

Maryam kick-started weeklong political campaign for the November 15 election in Gilgit-Baltistan early Thursday.

According to The News, Maryam is scheduled to meet local PML-N leadership and address public rallies. According to PML-N media department, the politicians is headed to Skardu today and will address a public rally at Ghawari today.

Maryam will address public gatherings in Skardu, Dambodas, Gohkoch, Astor and Kochlas in the next seven days. A rally will be held from Shigar to Skardu on November 6 [tomorrow].

The PML-N local chapter will be hosting a dinner for the vice-president, GB president an former chief minister Hafiz Hafeez ur Rehman.

During the visit, Maryam will also be briefed on PML-N's government's performance in the last five years and informed about development projects in the region.
GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Court on Friday ordered Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, federal minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur and other public office holders to leave the region within 72 hours for violating the code of conduct for elections.

The order was passed on PPP Gilgit-Baltistan vice president Jamil Ahmed’s petition with the GB Chief Court pleading to expel federal ministers and public office holders from GB till the conclusion of election on Nov 15 for violating elections code of conduct.

As the code of conduct under the Election Act of 2017 bars only public office holders, including the president and prime minister, chairman and deputy chairman of senate, speaker and deputy speaker of an assembly, federal ministers, ministers of state, governors, chief ministers, provincial ministers, advisers to the premier and chief ministers, mayors, chairman, nazim and their deputies, from taking part in election drive in any manner whatsoever, the court order refers to the definition of public office holder as per National Accountability (NAB) Ordinance 1999 that includes member of parliament as well.

Chief Court says PPP leader, ministers and others violated code of conduct for elections

A two-member bench of the GB Chief Court comprising Chief Judge Malik Haq Nawaz and Ali Baig ordered to expel from the boundary of GB all those individuals who fall in the ambit of para 18 of the code of conduct framed for the Gilgit-Baltistan general elections 2020, within three days of passing of the order.

The court order says public office holder “has not been defined as who will be placed in the category of public office holder”.

This term has been defined in the NAB ordinance, it mentions while also barring the elected members of assemblies and Senate from running election campaign.

While addressing a press conference here in Gilgit on Friday, GB Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Raja Shahbaz Khan asked the PPP chairman and federal minister Ali Amin Gandapur and other public office holders to leave Gilgit-Baltistan to implement court order.

Mr Khan said a total of 130 notices had been issued to leaders of different political parties, including PPP, PML-N, PTI, PML-Q and JUI-F, for violating election code of conduct. He asserted that leaders of all political parties needed to obey and implement the elections code of conduct and Election Act 2017.

“I appeal to all the concerned to go from GB themselves without damaging the environment,” he said.

The chief election commissioner has said police and GB scouts would perform election duties, while the army would have no role in the upcoming election. Of the 1,234 polling stations in Gilgit-Baltistan, 415 polling stations have already been declared ‘highly sensitive’.

Mr Khan rejected the pre-poll rigging allegations and said all measures were being taken to ensure free, fair and transparent election in GB.

‘Bilawal is not public office holder’
Meanwhile, PPP’s GB president Advocate Amjad Hussain has said Mr Bhutto-Zardari is not a public office holder and the election code of conduct allows him to participate in the election campaign.

The GB election commission had adopted Election Act 2017, which did not bar Mr Bhutto-Zardari from leading the election campaign, Advocate Hussain said while addressing a press conference here in Gilgit.

He was accompanied by other office-bearers of the party Jamil Ahmed, Sadia Danish and Javed Hussain.

Calling the move unprecedented, Advocate Hussain said members of the National Assembly and Senate of Pakistan had never been barred from taking part in the election campaigns in the history of Pakistan.

He said it seemed the focus of the chief election commissioner was the PPP leadership.

The para 18 of the code of conduct under the Election Act, 2017, says: “The President, Prime Minister, Chairman/Deputy Chairman Senate, Speaker/Deputy Speaker of an Assembly, Federal Ministers, Ministers of State, Governors, Chief Ministers, Provincial Ministers, Advisers to the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers, Mayors/Chairman/Nazim, their deputies and other public office holders shall not participate in election campaign in any manner whatsoever. This provision will be applicable to the caretaker setup.”

He said the Election Act stopped the PM and ministers, but the CEC had never sent them any notice for violating the code of conduct. He further said the leadership of a banned outfit was working in one of the constituencies to support their candidate.

About legislation on Khalisa Sarkar and other issues of Haq-i-Malkiyat, he said the PPP needed 12 seats.
But but but Dr. [MENTION=131701]Mamoon[/MENTION] said he is selected :sree

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="und" dir="ltr"><a href=""></a></p>— Senator Shibli Faraz (@shiblifaraz) <a href="">November 11, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The colours of Gilgit Baltistan just before the onset of winter. One of my favourite places on this earth. <a href=""></a></p>— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) <a href="">December 6, 2020</a></blockquote> <script async src="" charset="utf-8"></script>

Prime Minister Imran Khan is expected to announce a development package for Gilgit Baltistan during his visit to the region in few days, The News reported on Wednesday.

The premier, in this regard, chaired a high-level meeting on the development of Gilgit-Baltistan.

It was attended by Planning Minister Asad Umar, Finance Minister Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid, and other ministers and senior officials.

"The meeting okayed a historic package for the development of Gilgit-Baltistan," the report said. Addressing the meeting, PM Imran said that the development of Gilgit-Baltistan was one of the priorities of the present government.

Directing Gilgit-Baltistan's chief minister, the premier said: "Gilgit-Baltistan has huge potential for tourism that needs to be exploited. There is a need to pay special attention to tourism promotion and environmental protection."

Prime Minister Office said that a new chapter of construction and development will be written in the region due to uplifting projects in various sectors of the region.

"The projects will produce effective solutions to the problems of the region and numerous job opportunities will be available to the youth."

In a fresh bid to halt illegal logging in the scenic northern region of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan has brought in a paramilitary force to stop organised groups from cutting down trees and transporting them to other parts of the country.

The Frontier Constabulary (FC), a civil armed force working under the federal government and led by police officers, was deployed in January to support the regional forest department, which officials say lacks staff, training and funding.

While forests around the world have seen encroachments spike during the pandemic as lockdown measures leave them unguarded, illicit logging in Gilgit-Baltistan has all but stopped since the FC arrived, said chief conservator Zakir Hussain.

Incidents of tree cutting and transport have dropped in both government and community-owned forests, where logging bans are harder to enforce, said Hussain, whose Forests, Parks and Wildlife Department oversees the law enforcement agency.

“The locals have regard for the force,” he said, adding that its deployment had acted as a deterrent to deforestation and raised morale among forestry staff.

“There is no organised pilfering of wood now and the amount being transported outside of the forest is at nearly zero,” he said.

For the next three years, four platoons with 36 members each will be stationed at checkpoints on exit routes from the forest to stop the movement of illegal timber, explained Malik Amin Aslam, the prime minister's special assistant on climate change.

The FC also patrols regularly and has the power to apprehend people caught cutting down or transporting trees, he added.

Demand for wood in Pakistan, with a population of about 220 million people, is three times higher than its potential sustainable supply, according to the most recent National Forest Policy published in 2015.

The country loses an estimated 27,000 hectares (66,700 acres) of trees per year, mainly in private and community-owned natural forests, the policy noted.

“The forest owners and local communities depend on forests as their sole source of livelihood. As a result, forests in all provinces, particularly in Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, are under severe pressure,” it said. A study by a group of Chinese and Pakistani researchers published last year points to a host of factors behind forest losses in Gilgit-Baltistan, including population growth, unchecked cattle grazing, poor forest management and the use of wood as fuel.

Deforestation has led to soil erosion, rising air pollution and higher temperatures in the region, while also degrading some of Pakistan's prime tourist areas, the study warned.

Hussain said the two main groups responsible for illegal logging in the region are local communities, who mainly cut down trees to use as firewood for cooking and heating, and a powerful “timber mafia” that sells illegally cut wood to timber merchants in other parts of the country.

Efforts to tackle the problem are complicated by geography and lack of infrastructure, he explained.

The region consists of hundreds of valleys with no paved roads connecting them, and many areas have no internet or phone networks, he said.

On top of those problems, Hussain said, Gilgit-Baltistan's forestry department does not have enough manpower to oversee the quarter-million hectares of natural forest in the region.

Under the region's Forest Act of 2019, the department was granted the power to arrest, investigate and prosecute anyone caught illegally logging, but that move has yet to be approved by the cabinet, Hussain said.

Even so, its staff of about 1,000 would need to triple in size to properly protect the region's forests and wildlife, he added.

“We are under-staffed and lack both in training and equipment, as well as logistics,” he said.

“Our unarmed staff were helpless to stop the illegal timber mafia and local communities before the deployment of the FC.” Muhammad Tahir, a teacher living in Gilgit-Baltistan's Diamer district, said that since the Frontier Constabulary arrived in the area forest department employees have stepped up their efforts to tackle illegal logging.

But while the paramilitary force can help stop people from transporting wood out of the forests, local cutters have little option but to fell wood as their main source of fuel, he said.

Tahir said he would like to see the government provide solar energy, natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas to people living in the area and give them incentives to shift to these fuels.

“As long as the government does not provide alternate fuels to locals at cheap rates, this illegal cutting cannot be stopped,” he said.

Syed Kamran Hussain, regional manager for green group WWF-Pakistan, said the deployment of the FC is an effective way to supplement the work of the Gilgit-Baltistan forestry department until it gets more trained staff.

But because about 70 per cent of forested land in the region is owned by local people, no tree protection initiative will succeed unless the government gains the buy-in of forest communities, he added.

“We need to convince the locals that they are owners of these resources and they should protect them,” he said.

Chief conservator Zakir Hussain said the regional government is already encouraging community-based conservation, noting that since the 1990s it has been giving up to 80pc of the income from national parks to residents living around them.

“This is necessary so that the community has a sense that they are not alienated by the government and are sharing the benefits of the forests,” he said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan announced on Friday a package of Rs370 billion for Gilgit-Baltistan and said that investment in tourism could transform the region.

"We are announcing a package of Rs370 billion for Gilgit-Baltistan to be reimbursed over the next five years," the premier said.

"We will be focusing on hydropower projects, alongside a local distribution network and tourism connectivity," he said.

The package, premier added, is also focused on skill development and scholarships for the region's youth.

"We need to invest in our youth," he said and stressed the need to upgrade the health system. The health card that we are providing is not part of health insurance, but a health system."

Also read PM Imran orders misconduct investigation against staff of embassy in KSA

Imran added that the funds are to be directed towards water sanitation and sewerage system in Skardu, adding, "the area will also witness the operation of international flights."

Electoral decisions

The prime minister admitted that he had "made some wrong decisions in the past in awarding tickets to certain party members. I often think about those wrong decisions," he said.

He added that some people come into power only for personal gains. "Such powerful people send the illegally acquired money abroad.

"A country where there is no justice or supremacy of law cannot prosper," he maintained.

Express Tribune

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said on Saturday that the federal government allocated a ‘record’ share in the next budget (2021-22) for the development of Gilgit Baltistan (GB) as Prime Minister Imran Khan desired its uplift on par with other parts of the country.

Addressing a news conference here at the Skardu Press Club, he said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), soon after coming into power in GB, announced a development package worth Rs 300 billion for the socio-economic development of the area. The amount, which would be spent in the next five years, would bring significant improvement in the infrastructure of the GB and boost economic activities through tourism promotion, he added.

The minister regretted over dilapidated condition of the road infrastructure in the GB and lashed out at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for ‘doing nothing’ for its rehabilitation despite being in the power for a long period of time.

Fawad said he had been told by the political and civil administrations of the GB including the Chief Minister and Commissioners of various areas that the services of professional town planners were hired to formulate master plans of all the districts including Skardu, Shigar, Gilgit, and others.

He added that the situation in GB would also look like Karachi in the next eight to ten years if the development work was carried out without proper planning.

The minister appreciated the GB’s Chief Minister for taking such a timely decision, adding it was crucial to the sustainable development of the area.

He said completion of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would mark a new era of development and prosperity in GB as it was situated at a critical route of the multi-billion dollar project.

Fawad was of the view that Indians had a track record of hatching conspiracies against the area, adding it was the people of GB who always stood by Pakistan.

He said the whole nation and people of GB were unanimously condemning the illegal and unilateral actions of the Indian government in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOK). He also condemned the actions of Indian government against the IIOK’s people.

The minister said Pakistan had ended trade relations with India to give a message to the people of Kashmir that the Pakistani nation stood with them.

He said Pakistan had also ended the agreement with India to telecast Pakistan and England cricket matches series. However, he said, alternative arrangements would be made to telecast the cricket series.

He said the government of Pakistan had also decided to give interim provincial status to the GB as work on its legislation was being carried out on a fast-track basis. “All the basic rights that have been demanded by the people of Gilgit Baltistan for a long time, will be given to them soon,” he added.

The minister also shed light on Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan’s peace process and said Pakistan had played a key role and tried its best so that the issues related to Afghanistan could be solved amicably.

“Pakistan had made tremendous efforts to end the war in Afghanistan; Pakistan had also engaged different leaderships of Afghanistan, and the US to move forward on the peace process, Pakistan will always try to bring peace in Afghanistan,” he remarked.

The minister said that the business communities, farmers and people belonging to all walks of life had welcomed the federal budget announced by the government.

“All the people including, business community farmers and salaried class had been taken care of while making the federal budget,” he added.

Fawad said that Pakistan International Airline (PIA) had been operating three flights to the GB in a day, adding it was an unprecedented move which would boost tourism activities in the area in coming days.

To a question he said, the courts had convicted Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz in two corruption cases while the Shahbaz case was in progress. He said the government had demanded a day-to-day hearing in Shahbaz Sharif cases so as to take those cases to their conclusion.

He said the court had given the decision in Nawaz Sharif case, and he (Nawaz Sharif) fled abroad. “It was the desire of the PTI government that the accountability process reaches to its conclusion,” he added.

The minister said the local government system was crucial to the development of all the areas.

To another query, he said the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were being developed in the country to ensure transparency and fast compilation of election results, adding the gadgets would also be used in elections of the Parliamentary Reporters Association (PRA), Press Clubs and the Bar associations.

He also offered EVM facility to Skardu press club for its elections. He expressed his gratitude to the Skardu Press Club’s President, Secretary, and other office bearers for extending him invitation for the visit.

He vowed to upgrade the building of the press club and assured them of the early release of the grant.

Fawad said he would consult with the Gilgit Baltistan University to start tourism and environment-specific journalism training classes for budding journalists in the hall of Skardu press club, owing to the massive footfall of tourists to the area, as well as, presence of diverse flora and fauna there.

He said initiation of such training classes would eventually promote environment and wildlife journalism in the area, which was essential to attract local and foreign tourists.
more provences are fine and will help, but also musharrafs LG system was good too and could be used in the same way and be implemented more easily.

Historic moment: Gilgit gets its first-ever sewerage system project​

In what marks a historic moment, the scenic mountainous town of Gilgit is gearing up for its first-ever sewerage and sanitation project. This initiative signals a pivotal shift towards environmental conservation and improved public health.

Nearly half a million people in the town will benefit from the project which will be completed by the end of 2025.

“For years, Gilgit has grappled with the absence of essential infrastructure, despite being blessed with abundant natural resources like fresh water sources, lakes, and springs,” said former chief minister Hafiz Hafeezur Rehman who was instrumental in having the project designed back in 2015 during the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) tenure.

“Lack of the sewerage system not only marred the aesthetic appeal of Gilgit city but also posed serious health risks to its residents, who have had to contend with polluted water sources,” he added.

An excavator digs a passage for Gilgit's sewerage and sanitation project. PHOTO: EXPRESS

In this phase, the sewerage and sanitary system project will cover the area from Baseen to Bab-e-Gilgit (package - I& II) and from Tablighi Markaz to Nagar Colony Konodas (package III).

The project has been met with enthusiasm and optimism from the local community, who recognise its potential to improve their quality of life.

"We've long awaited a solution to our sanitation woes, and this project gives us hope for a cleaner and healthier future," said resident Amin Khan. "For too long, unfortunately, we've had to contend with inadequate infrastructure," shares Khan, echoing the sentiments of many.

Spearheading this endeavour is Project Director, Shafqat Ali, who brings both expertise and dedication to the table. "This project will solve our sanitation requirements for a long time," remarks Ali, emphasising the project's significance for the town's residents. "This project will not only address environmental concerns but also ensure access to clean drinking water, which is essential for public health."

However, initial concerns regarding the size of the pipeline were raised, particularly on social media. Addressing these concerns, Shafqat Ali assures the public that the infrastructure has been designed to accommodate the town's growing needs.

The whole collection system contains a 209 km long sewer pipeline network, said the project director, adding the sewer pipe sizes range from 8 inches to 40 inches.

The pipe network consists of tertiary sewers to main trunk sewers. The initial eight-inch pipeline is just the beginning and will collect sewage from houses and the pipe network sizes increase with the increase of sewage quantity, he explains.

The entire sanitary sewage of the project area will be conveyed through a sewer pipe network system to Mechanical Sewage Treatment Plant with a capacity of 4 MGPD for treatment, enabling its reuse.