Intro: India cannot afford to neglect its own region (Gilgit-Baltistan) which connects Indian subcontinent with the Central Asia in the era of China’s expansionism and Arab’s Wahhabism of ISIS.
In the very recent times, the world has seen many terrorist attacks in Pakistan on sectarian lines. Unfortunately, like in other parts of the world, attackers/terrorists have Islamic justification for inhumane attacks, but here in Pakistan this justification is taught and spread extensively in the same “Islamic Republic of Pakistan”.
An Indian paradise of Himalayan region, Gilgit-Baltistan (a mountainous territory disputed between Pakistan and India) of Jammu and Kashmir, lies under the illegal and forced occupation of the same ‘failing’ state of Pakistan. Irony of this Indian part is that the constitution of Pakistan does not apply here as it does not come under the territory of Pakistan specified in its constitution viz. it is out of the authority of the Constitution of Pakistan. Jurisdiction of Indian Constitution extends to Gilgit-Baltistan, but India does not have physical control over the region. So, technically there is no rule of law; and a constitutional framework is absent in Gilgit-Baltistan — A part of a pre-1947 Kashmir, claimed by Pakistan and India and home to the only land route to the Indian Ocean for Pakistan's closest ally in the region, China.
Pakistan occupied Kashmir & Gilgit-Baltistan does not fall under part one of Constitution of Pakistan which defines the territory of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Due to its physical occupancy, a judicial system of Pakistan runs here through judicial orders. Political motives of the time rule in the judicial matters. Sometimes these motives align with the China’s economical exploitation of the region and sometimes they tend to comply with the wish of the Pakistani Army.
Since decades, Taliban and Al-Qaeda have been busy with Jihad business in Gilgit-Baltistan. Every day dreamers of an “Islamic planet” consider location of the terrain strategically very crucial for the Ghazwa-e-Hind (A final battle to convert the whole Indian sub-continent into an Islamic state).
At the same time, American think tanks too are busy outlining the strategy for the region and Britain still hopes that this mess created by them somehow will still safeguard their interests.
After the Peshawar school attack, the Government of Pakistan and Army suddenly started to talk tough on terrorism. A constitutional amendment was planned right away, for speedy trial Military Courts: And 21st amendment was done to the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan. This amendment sought to setup speedy trial Military Courts for offences relating to terrorism, and waging of war against Pakistan. Initially, the government of Pakistan issued an ordinance for the same law in Gilgit-Baltistan. But later it withdrew its decision.
Pakistan Army is already the sole ruler, law maker and enforcing entity in Gilgit-Baltistan which is the only Shia majority region under the rule of Pakistan. In other words there is no region in Pakistan other than Gilgit-Baltisan, where lives a majority other than Wahhabist Sunni. Along with scores of lives of the demonstrators taken by the Pakistani Army, hundreds of people, young and old, mothers and daughters have become the victims of the Wahabi terrorism in Gilgit-Baltistan.
While whole world knows the situation and significance of the Gilgit-Baltistan, the ignorance on the part of Indian Media and the Government is frustrating. Only a badly ignorant media and government would take risk of neglecting its own territory which has largest store of pure drinking water, enormous potential of energy generation, huge stokes of minerals like gold, silver and pearls and large deposits of Uranium.
Arvind (The writer is a researcher at J&K Study Center, New Delhi)