Gilgit-Baltistan

Baltistan, like any other people on earth, has its own history, language, beliefs and culture. It has known many vicissitudes because despite being in the center of great mountains, branches of the Silk Road have crossed their lands and has been victim of the ambition of nearby villages. There lies the Hushe valley.

History.

Baltistan was an independent nation until it was occupied by Dogras troops in the mid-19th century. Ruled consecutively by Shiks and Dogras it became part of the kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir in 1846, and remained under Dogra rule after the defeat of the Shiks in the war of 1845 and 1846 against British troops.  Later, in 1947, it was occupied and annexed by Pakistan, consolidating Islamabad's dominion over the region after the first Indo-Pakistani war for the control of Kashmir that followed English decolonization. The lack of international recognition of the annexation and the conflict between these two nuclear powers means that the Balti have not enjoyed their own administration or constitutional rights until very recently. In fact, until 2009 it was not recognised as an autonomous region of Pakistan and it was with this legal change that they were granted the right to an autonomous government and parliament of their own. What were previously the Northern Areas are now the Gilgit-Baltistan autonomous region.

 

Politics and administration.

In 2009, the Northern region was renamed Gilgit-Baltistan areas while important changes were introduced through the Gilgit-Baltistan Central Government Empowerment and Self Governance Order 2009. 

The Law confers a certain degree of autonomy, limited and heavily intervened to the region. The Governor is appointed directly by the Pakistani Prime Minister, and the Chief Minister is elected by the Legislative Assembly. Members of the Government are elected equally by the Central Government and the Legislative Assembly. On the positive side, for the first time it is recognized as an administrative reality with legislative rights by the Government of Pakistan.

The 2009 Law gives the new Legislative Assembly the ability to legislate in certain areas such as planning and development, education, health, tourism, forestry, agriculture and others.

The Legislative Assembly is composed of 33 members of which 24 members are elected by universal suffrage, and 6 seats are reserved for women and 3 seats for technocrats and professionals. Seats reserved for women and technocrats are elected by political parties in proportion to the number of members elected to the Legislative Assembly.

Gilgit-Baltistan is currently divided into ten districts: Ghizer, Hunza, Nagar, Gilgit, Diamir-Chilas, Astore, Skardu, Shigar, Kharmang and  Ghanche in which the Hushe Valley is located.