74th Independence Day of Gilgit-Baltistan celebrated

74th Independence Day of Gilgit-Baltistan celebrated

GB Law Minister says constitutional reforms bill to be tabled soon

By Gul Nayab

ISLAMABAD/GILGIT:  The 74th Independence Day of Gilgit Baltistan was being celebrated with traditional zeal and fervor on Monday.

The people of Gilgit-Baltistan celebrate their Independence Day on November 1 as the Gilgit Scouts had liberated their homeland from the Dogra Raj in 1947 and arrested Governor Ghansara Singh.

Processions, rallies, and special programs were held in all the ten districts of Gilgit Baltistan (GB) and in the major cities of the country as well. The main function was held at Gilgit Chinar Bagh, where Chief Minister GB Khalid Khurshid was the chief guest.

Speaking on the occasion, CM Khalid Khurshid said that today was the day for us to pay homage to our martyrs and conquerors and renew our vows. On this special day our heroes liberated this part of the land from the Dogra rules without any outside help, today we must pledge to remember the sacrifices of our forefathers.

He said that the ideology of independence of GB was derived from the ideology of Pakistan, the only country in the world which came into being in the name of Islam.

The chief minister said that after independence the country lacked sincere and honest leadership. He further added that the provincial government has taken practical steps to end the last 70 years of deprivation in 10 months.

The territory has been in constitutional limbo for the last seventy-four years. Though the demands were loud from the residents of GB about the provision of constitutional rights the governments were reluctant due to the longstanding Kashmir issue.

The incumbent government of PTI is also in process of reforms to eradicate the constitutional deprivation of the province.  In this regard, a committee is working under Barrister Farogh Naseem.

Gilgit-Baltistan Minister Law & Parliamentary Affairs and Board of Revenue Syed Sohail Abbas Shah while talking about the constitutional reforms made by the PTI government said that the bill regarding the provision of constitutional rights to GB will be tabled within a month or two. He further said that GB would have four seats in the National Assembly including three general and one woman seat, while the discussion is on about the number of seats in the Senate.

Sharing views about the amendments in the articles of the constitution, he said that about Article 1 there were reservations from Foreign Ministry while Article 258 will be amended or a new Article will be introduced to ensure the provision of due rights to the residents of Gilgit-Baltistan.

He expressed hope that before the completion of PTI tenure, GB will be given constitutional rights. 

On the other hand, the opposition leader in the GB Assembly Advocate Amjad Hussain expressed dismay over the ruling PTI government and termed PM Imran a big hurdle in the path of provision of constitutional rights to the province.

He stressed that keeping house in order and ensuring constitutional rights to the GB was the need of time and all parties were on same page over the issue of provision of constitutional rights.

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