Like the fight against terrorism, elections that Pakistan is holding in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) are the biggest gimmick of the world.
Elections in Gilgit-Baltistan are not a regular routine like it happens in Jammu and Kashmir which being integral part of India is governed by democratic assemblies that people elect.
In the history of illegal occupation of Pakistan in GB, it is only the second time that this drama of election is going to happen on June 8. Before this it happened in 2009 only. This was needed to be cleared as Pakistan has already started crying foul that why is India objecting this time only when elections in GB have always been held.
Not only the way elections in GB are held is meaningless but also this whole exercise of Pakistan in the foreign land (as also conveyed by Supreme Court of Pakistan) is ridicules. Gilgit-Baltistan does not fall into territories that are defined in the constitution of Pakistan. Meaninglessness of this would be cleared later.
Pakistan has occupied GB, illegally and forcibly. Illegally because it is an integral part of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir and the tyrannies of the Pakistani army on the local populations are the evidence of forcible occupation.
Government of India has also conveyed this well through the statement by the Ministry of External Affairs. “The election in Gilgit-Baltistan on June 8 under the ‘Gilgit Baltistan Empowerment and Self Government Order’ is an attempt by Pakistan to camouflage its forcible and illegal occupation of the regions”, said Vikas Swarup, spokesperson of External Affairs Ministry.
Raising concern over the suppressed political rights of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan he added “We are concerned at the continued efforts by Pakistan to deny the people of the region their political rights and the efforts being made to absorb these territories.”
Present elections in GB are held under the ‘Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009’ which was passed by the Pakistan Cabinet in 2009. This order has created Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly and Gilgit-Baltistan Council. Present elections are for Legislative Assembly which has literally no power in the policy making of any kind and it ends up collecting taxes only. All the powers lie with Legislative Council which is chaired by Prime Minister of Pakistan. Vice chairman of this council is Governor of GB who is also a chosen puppet from Pakistan. Like Chairman (Prime Minister of Pakistan) vice chairman also does not represents GB. Other six members which are nominated by PM of Pakistan also happen to be from Assembly of Pakistan and they also do not come from GB. Only six members (again chosen by PM/Army) in the Council come from the Assembly elections scheduled to be held on June 8.
This GB election is meaningless because of the simple fact that these are not held in a free and fare manner. There is no mechanism to keep a check on voters. Pakistani army creates a large number of fake voters and a voter can vote at multiple booths. Actually votes at the booths are decided by the Pakistani Army through lousy election management. Anyone following the politics of Pakistan can predict the result in advance; party ruling at the Islamabad is going to be winner of this election. Terms and conditions to rule Islamabad are fixed by Pakistani Army and so are the elections results of GB.
Even the possibly of Lilliputian hope of strengthening the voice of the local people of GB is vanished by the tactical demographic changes that has flooded areas of GB with the Pakistani Sunni population. The ratio of local Shia community has declined rapidly. Moreover, world cannot hope the rise of democracy on the foreign land under a country of failed/fake democracy.
(The writer is researcher in J&K Study Centre)