Constitutional Impasse in Gilgit-Baltistan (Jammu and Kashmir): The Fallout

Mr. Senge Sering has a Masters in Development Studies from the University of East Anglia, and was a Visiting scholar at IDSA, New Delhi.
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  • May 2010

    The legal status of Gilgit-Baltistan, which is part of Jammu and Kashmir that is under Pakistani occupation, has remained undefined in successive Pakistani constitutions. Pakistan governs the region with ad hoc presidential ordinances, resulting in transitory political arrangements. It was Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto who first introduced the so-called Northern Areas Governance Order of 1994, after shelving the draconian and inhumane Frontier Crimes Regulation, with which Pakistan ruled the region like a colony. With some amendments, the same ordinance was later renamed the Legal Framework Order by President Musharraf in 2007 and more recently as the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order by the Zardari regime. The term ‘self-governance’ in the current ordinance is coined as a strategic move to defuse pressure of rights organisations. The order establishes the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly and the Gilgit-Baltistan Council. It also creates the post of chief minister; and a governor, who will represent the president of Pakistan and function as the de facto rulers of Gilgit-Baltistan.