Like our Facebook Page

Early Times Newspaper Jammu, Leading Newspaper Jammu
Breaking News :   Secure their release but leave people at mercy of terrorists, elements sitting across LoC | Proposal for Fast Track Courts trashed, lakhs of cases pile up for years | Hr Edu deptt' decisions leave contractual faculty members in distress | Three former CMs caged in Kashmir; separatists free | Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad talks to people to assess situation in Kashmir | Three arrested for publicising JeM threat posters in Pulwama | Two overground workers of JeM held in south Kashmir | In post Article-370 Kashmir, local militants outnumber foreigners | Carmel convent celebrated International Peace Day | Stephens International organizes litter cleanup day | Five sport climbers selected for Indian Sport Climbing team | CVPPPL holds 8th annual general meeting | Display Your Talent-2019: fine-arts activities held | Guru Ravi Dass Sabha protests over demolition of temple in Delhi | DIPR holds awareness programme on 'Protection of Children from Sexual Violence' | Major crackdown on LeT, HM OGW network in Kishtwar town, peripheral areas | SSP Traffic Rural ML Kaith launches special drive against violators | Advisor Sharma represents JK at GST Council Meet | Long pending demands of people of J&K fullfilled: Chander Mohan Sharma | Advisor Skandan to meet public in Srinagar on Sept 23 | Center has started process to provide 50,000 jobs in Kashmir: Shekhawat | Rajesh Jain elected president of AOI | Justice Magray visits Juvenile Observation Home | Mankotia seeks holiday on Maharaja Hari Singh's birth anniversary | 13,500 Solar Home Lighting Systems to be distributed on 50% subsidy in Kishtwar | Bipul Pathak reviews working of ICDS | Awareness prog on "Solid Waste Management, No Plastic, Polythene usage' held | SSC exams: District admin Kulgam flags-off candidates to Jammu | DC Leh inspects development works | DIPR holds symposium on Drug de-addiction | JSS Kathua celebrates Investure ceremony | Pushp Vatika celebrates colors week | Five day Patrol Leaders camp conludes | MLZS organizes Scouts & Guide "PARVESH " camp | Tug-of-War for fitness organized | GCOE Celebrate World Peace Day | SMVDU Organizes Invited Talk on Atman of Biological System | Judicial Review of Preventive Detention under J&K Public Safety Act, 1978 | Of new national education policy | 16 animals die as Pak army pounds civilian areas along LoC in Rajouri, Poonch | Around 4 lakh devotees likely to visit Vaishno Devi during Navratras | Digitalization of Land Records: Advisor Skandan reviews progress in Jammu | Army commander reaches out to locals in south Kashmir | Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Plastic waste: DC to villagers | DC interacts with Councilors' of Lakhanpur Committee | Day 48: Restrictions lifted in most parts of Kashmir | Power shut down | Army porter died due to electrocution | Kashmiri Pandits seek Centre's nod to visit J&K, meet leaders | Nearly 7000 ceasefire violations by Pakistan in Jammu, Kashmir | NSS organises informative lecture | Govt takes preventive measures to maintain peace | AF flags-off "Glory Run" expedition to commemorate Kargil war heroes | PG College Rajouri celebrates World Peace Day | District admin flags off first batch of 12 MAITRI for training at Bathinda | NDS demands renaming of Jammu Radio Station | BBIA hails Union Finance Minister's fiscal sops for Corporate Sector | Ravinder Sharma urges upon Govt to restore normalcy | PM's desire of ''hugging Kashmiris'' hollow: NC | PNC approves 15 land acquisition cases, fixes rates under compulsory acquisition | Apple production soars due to high-density plants in Kashmir | Cong flays BJP for not solving day-to-day problems of people | DDC interacts with PRIs at Ramban | Rajput Sabha condemns Govt's failure to nab Parihar brothers' killers | ABS raises concern about public services | DDC holds public outreach programme at Basantgarh | YRS demands holiday on Birthday of Maharaja Hari Singh | Div Com reviews implementation of projects in Higher Education Department | Three day entrepreneurship awareness Camp concludes | Dr Abhishek gives faculity lecture at Harayana Ophthalmology Conference | Strengthening religion will form basis of strong nation: Sethi | Blood donation open camp organized | One day awareness programme held | Dogra College of Education organizes seminar on Maharaja Hari Singh | Hindi Pakhwada celebrated in NHPC Regional Office | Back Issues  
news details
Under Pak rule, Gilgit-Baltistan most neglected, backward area in South Asia: Book
8/18/2019 11:08:23 PM


New Delhi, Aug 18: With 32 snow-clad mountain peaks, mighty glaciers, lush green valleys and freshwater lakes, Gilgit-Baltistan is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
Not to mention the abundant reserves of precious deposits like gold, silver and uranium. However, nearly seven decades of Pakistan''s illegal occupation has pushed Gilgit-Baltistan -- once an economically thriving region -- into the most neglected, backward and poorest area in entire South Asia, says a new book titled ''Pakistan Occupied Kashmir -- Politics, Parties and Personalities'' by three Pakistan experts.
Other experts not connected to the book say Islamabad has also been systematically suppressing the people of the region who are mostly Shias and are facing an influx of Sunni population from other parts of Pakistan.
Tilak Devasher, a strategic affairs expert, says while Pakistan has projected itself as the champion of ''self-determination'' and democratic rights in J and K, the reality is that in Gilgit-Baltistan, it has indulged in "systematic suppression of the people".
"It has denied them even basic constitutional and legal rights but hypocritically speaks of the right of self-determination in J&K," he told.
The region, which was part of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir before being occupied by Pakistan in 1947, is now synonymous with increasing suicides, sectarian violence, violation of human rights and militancy.
Awfully, 85 per cent of the people make their living on subsistence farming, says the book published by premier think-tank Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis.
According to a report by the Islamabad-based Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, the region has a literacy rate of mere 14 per cent for men and 3.5 per cent for women. However, the book says, data prepared by the government of Gilgit-Baltistan in 2013 claimed that the literacy rate was 37.85 per cent in 1998 and it went up to 60 per cent in 2013.
Authored by Surinder Kumar Sharma, Yaqoob ul Hassan and Ashok Behuria, the book chronicles socio-political developments, strategic dimensions including China''s growing presence and unfolding demographic changes in the mountainous region.
"The Pakistan Government has not done much to improve the economic condition of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan which is considered as the most backward in South Asia," says the book.
It says there has been increasing frequency of suicides in the region, adding that over 300 youths, both boys and girls, committed suicides in Ghizer district alone since 2000. "One major reason for committing suicide is unemployment," it says.
In a reflection of the situation there, Abdul Hamid Khan, leader of Balawaristan National Front (BNF), a prominent political party of the region, in a letter to then UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon on March 14, 2016, said: "There is no legal, constitutional, judicial mechanism in place in Pakistan occupied Gilgit-Baltistan to protect people from human rights violations."
"Many political and religious people have been prosecuted in Gilgit-Baltistan jails without giving them access to legal, constitutional redress options or high court and Supreme Court," he wrote to Moon.
The Gilgit-Baltistan region has a geographical area of 72,496 sq. km (as per Pakistani projections). Under an agreement reached between Pakistan and China in 1963, Pakistan handed over 5,180 square km of territory to China.
For several decades, Gilgit-Baltistan did not have any clear political status as it was not officially declared part of Pakistan or was given the so called autonomy granted to what Pakistan calls ''Azad Kashmir''.
In 1949, Pakistan divided Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir into separate administrative zones known as the so-called "Azad Jammu & Kashmir" and the so-called "Federally Administered Northern Areas".
Pakistan created an ''Advisory Council'' for the "Federally Administered Northern Areas" in 1969. This Advisory Council was converted into the ''Northern Areas Council'' in 1994. In 1999, it was renamed as ''Northern Areas Legislative Council'' through Legal Framework (Amendment) Order, which in turn was replaced by the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order in 2009.
India had reacted sharply after the 2009 order, calling the move yet another cosmetic exercise intended to camouflage Pakistan's illegal occupation of the region.
The Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018 by Pakistan brought about further changes, including authorizing the Prime Minister of Pakistan to legislate on over 63 subjects and the power to overrule any law passed by the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly etc.
It also invested the final authority to amend the Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018 to the President of Pakistan instead of the Legislative Assembly of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Devasher, the strategic affairs expert, said the basic issue is that Pakistan has tied itself in knots in trying to follow a policy of ''calculated ambiguity'' towards the areas.
"It has been unable to absorb these areas, apprehending that it would be construed as permanent acceptance of the territorial status quo and the LoC. It would also make the UN Resolutions, the central plank of its Kashmir policy, irrelevant," he said.
"At the same time it is finding it increasingly difficult to continue to deprive the people of the region of their fundamental rights. Hence, it has made several attempts to give some rights and decentralize some powers to the elected representatives in the hope of letting off steam," he added.
According to 1998 census, the population of Gilgit-Baltistan was 870,347, while estimated population in 2013 was 1.3 million with an annual growth rate of about 2.56 per cent.
There has been increasing sectarian violence between Shias and Sunnis. The Shias felt threatened by the large influx of Sunnis from other provinces, particularly from Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, says the book.
The book suggested that there was pressure on Pakistan from China to provide clear legal status to Gilgit-Baltistan as India raised strong objection to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), saying it cuts through the disputed territory.
The USD 60 billion worth CPEC is part of China''s ambitious ''Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)'', and it connects Kashgar in Xinjiang with Gwadar Port in Pakistan.
China has shown great interest in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir particularly in Gilgit-Baltistan as it has undertaken a plethora of infrastructure projects in the area.
"Further, the completion of the USD 60 billion Corridor will further strengthen the Chinese control of the territory. The huge investment and presence in the region will provide China a leverage to become a de facto member of the dispute," says the book.
  Share This News with Your Friends on Social Network  
  Comment on this Story  
Early Times Android App
BSE Sensex
NSE Nifty
Home About Us Top Stories Local News National News Sports News Opinion Editorial ET Cetra Advertise with Us ET E-paper
J&K Govt. Official website
Jammu Kashmir Tourism
Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board
Shri Amarnath Ji Shrine Board
Shri Shiv Khori Shrine Board
Train Enquiry
Jammu Kashmir Bank
State Bank of India
Passport Department
Income Tax Department
IT Education
Web Site Design Services
Jammu University
Jammu University Results
Kashmir University
IGNOU Jammu Center