Geographical Introduction:Gilgit: Northernmost entity of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Surrounded by borders of China, Afghanistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Occupied Kashmir. Occupies an Area of 72,971 square kilometers. Land of word’s highest mountains as K2 and attractive lakes. Population of about 1,000,000 z
Historical Background: Ruled by Maharaja Ranbir Sing up till 1860. Remained under control of British up till 1935. On 4th of November 1947 was temporary handed over to Pakistan . In 1970 became single administrative under name Northern Areas. Recently renamed as ‘Gilgit Baltistan’ with provincial status.
Importance: It is the hub, the crow’s-nest, the fulcrum of Asia. Glaciers, rivers and streams of Karakorum, Hamalaya and Hindukush situated in Gilgit-Baltistan are the second big source of fresh water in the world. The region is extensively rich in mineral wealth and immense natural resources. It is paradise for tourists.
Kashmir’s Gilgit’s and Pakistan’sstand on Gilgit: Kashmir either Azad Kashmir or Occupied Kashmir claims that Gilgit is their part. Pakistan separated it from Azad Kashmir in April 28,1949, and placed directly under the administration of the Federal Government. Pakistan wants to make Gilgit its territory as said by Zia-ul-Haq 1982. The people of Gilgit claim that Gilgit Baltistan,Kargil, Ladakh are separate entity and should be given independence.
China’s and India’s stand on GilgitBaltistan China has already occupied some land in Tibet and Karakoram and shows great interest in Gilgit for national interest. India on other hands claims that not only the Kashmir but also the Northern areas are its part and deviate from UN resolutions. India says that today boundaries cannot be redrawn nor any populations can be forcibly transferred.
Iranian and American Influence: The majority in Gilgit belongs to Shia sect that’s why Iranian Islamic Revolution show deep and long lasting effects on them. Iran wants to make an independent Shia state. After getting hold of Oil, America is now concentrating on water. In order to win the war over fresh water in the near future, America has started working over plans and to make these plans successful, Americas eyes are on its beauty, length, width, tourism, geographical and defensive importance.
Conclusion: The truth is that the Gilgit Baltistan is passing through phase of decision making. They have to decide whether to become American colony, Independent Kashmir, Indian entity, Pakistani Province or Independent Gilgit Baltistan. They themselves are their real future builders.