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Gilgit-Baltistan’s constitutional status

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After the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s verdict on the constitutional status of Gilgit-Baltistan the people of the area expressed their dismay on the verdict. For well over seventy years the people of Gilgit-Baltistan have been demanding to formally be included as part of Pakistan.  The local population has argued that Gilgit-Baltistan is part of Pakistan. The Pakistan state declares that this is a disputed  area.
This state of affairs reminds me of a funny story.
The story begins when there were no proper roads in Gilgit-Baltistan. A wise and very elderly man bought a donkey from the next village, loaded the animal with his groceries and began his journey to his village. When he reached at a bridge, the donkey refused to cross over the bridge.
“Hmmm.”
Thought the wise gentleman, wading through the river is not an option because the water level is so high. The man pushed the donkey from behind. But the donkey refused to budge.
“NO!  Forward was not an option and the wily donkey made to escape.
The gentleman grabbed the long smooth hears of the donkey and decided to give them a tug. He pulled the donkey towards the bridge. So the donkey dragged her feet and pulled in the opposite direction and moved backwards.
The old man observed the reactions of the donkey.
“Hmmm…I know what I shall do.”
Without further ado he managed to reverse the position of the donkey, now the back of the donkey was towards the bridge.  Success, the crafty old gentleman gave a gentle pull, the donkey did just as he had expected. One foot at a time the donkey made his way across the frightening expanse of water over which the bridge swung, backwards.
Our situation in Gilgit-Baltistan is similar in many ways to the story of the ‘Wise man and the Donkey’. We have spent over seventy years trying to convince the successive governments of Pakistan that Gilgit-Baltistan is part of Pakistan!  What has been their reaction; a consistent, a constant, a repeated response of “No!”
“No you are part of the disputed areas of land!! Why don’t you understand that!”
Remember the old man, take a leaf out of the old man’s story; play them as he played the donkey.
Tweak the state by its donkey ears who can tell what may happen. Change the demands. Maybe they’ll be just like the donkey and move backwards; maybe the status quo will remain. This will just prove what you have known for seventy years.
Zero is always equal to Zero; any change of status will not make a significant difference unless there is liberation from corruption, liberation from poverty, liberation of thought, and freedom from State oppression in the courts.

Muhammad Khaliq is an educator and lives in Norway.

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