Gilgit Balistan Order 2018 leaves its people as lesser citizens of Pakistan

The people of Gilgit-Baltistan are Pakistanis and deserve the right to be treated as full citizens of Pakistan. It is in May 2018 that FATA has finally been made a part of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. Gilgit-Baltistan also deserves its rightful place.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has come out strongly against the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Order 2018 reiterating that the people of GB must be treated at par with the citizens of other provinces for any reforms to be meaningful.

A statement by HRCP noted: “In claiming to grant the people of GB their fundamental freedoms, the GB Order has clipped their right to freedom of association and expression. It has denied any Gilgit-Baltistani the right to become a chief judge of the Supreme Appellate Court or to have any say in internal security. Above all, it has disregarded people’s needs despite continual public pressure in GB to address their problems fairly and in accordance with local aspirations. The continuing imprisonment of Baba Jan and his comrades for having stood up for their fundamental rights is a sore case in point. There is nothing in the GB Order to protect others like Baba Jan in the future.”

Further, “The people of Gilgit-Baltistan deserve nothing less than to enjoy the same rights as other citizens of Pakistan. Under the country’s Constitution, the GB people’s ‘loyalty’ is to the state, not to the GB Order itself or, by extension, to the head of government. That the Order gives the Prime Minister extraordinary powers with respect to the governance of GB will not help in its being recognized as a province.”

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