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History of Gilgit Baltistan as ‘region’ of J&K

3 min read

Photo by Rizwan Saeed on Unsplash

Gilgit Baltistan has historically been overlooked by the Indian discourse on Jammu and Kashmir, frequently conflating its distinct and distinctive identity with that of Kashmir or, more accurately, with’ Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).’

This is evident from the fact that India has used the text in almost all official documents and statements relating to its conflict with Pakistan (including in the 1994 parliamentary resolution).

The word “Pakistan occupied Kashmir” has been used by India, and not “Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan occupied by Pakistan.”

For instance, before it ceased to exist on August 5 , 2019, the constitution of the State of Jammu And Kashmir made no mention of either Gilgit or Baltistan, nor did its sixth schedule (on regional languages) include many of the languages spoken in Gilgit Baltistan. 

Photo by Rizwan Saeed on Unsplash

The regal territory of Jammu and Kashmir had four particular normal areas. As V.P. Menon put it, “In the south lies Jammu; in the middle is the Happy Valley of Kashmir which contains the mid year capital srinagar; toward the north is Gilgit; and between the Kashmir Valley and Tibet is the area of Ladakh.”

Gilgit Baltistan, framed after parcel, is a combination of Gilgit and Baltistan. Its populace is 1.8 million, as per the Pakistani evaluation of 2017.

The Gilgit part includes the territories of the previous Gilgit Agency and some previous royal states, for example, Hunza and Nagar, which outskirt China.

Its populace is altogether Muslim, fundamentally of Shia and Ismaili factions. Baltistan, circumscribing Ladakh toward the south-east and the Siachen Glacier toward the north-east, is arranged in the valleys of the Indus and Shyok waterways, and their feeders.

It is chiefly possessed by Baltis, who are Muslims of Tibetan root. Gilgit is the capital of the whole district, with Skardu in Baltistan as the other regulatory focus.

Most Indians are so new to Gilgit Baltistan that they don’t have the foggiest idea about its reality or area. Most MPs and individuals from the public chief of the BJP, which is generally vocal in stating that all of Jammu and Kashmir is an “atoot ang” (indivisible some portion) of India, would be not able to name the spots, dialects, chronicled characters or social signs of Gilgit Baltistan, despite the fact that its zone (72,971 sq km) is more than multiple times bigger than that of the remainder of ‘PoK’ (13,297 sq km).

This obliviousness isn’t unexpected. Over the span of India’s opportunity battle, pioneers like Mahatma Gandhi and Nehru visited Kashmir. However, no significant pioneer visited Gilgit or Baltistan. Kashmiri Pandits (like Nehru himself) and Kashmiri Muslims (like Shaikh Abdullah) were images, among numerous different images, of India’s bond with Kashmir.

Notwithstanding, present day India has no such natural connections with Gilgit Baltistan. However, the upsurge of ultra-patriotism has made numerous Indians demand that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s deficient plan of reunification of India must be finished by recovering the whole region of the recent august province of Jammu and Kashmir — at any rate, the region in Pakistan’s ownership.

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