Body proposes Gilgit-Baltistan as name for Northern Areas

24 November 2008
The Dawn


Gilgit: Northern Areas Legislative Assembly (NALA) on Monday approved recommendations of its select committee, which had proposed that the Northern Areas should be renamed Gilgit-Baltistan. The legislative assembly speaker, Malik Mohammad Miskeen, presided over the proceedings of the house. Member of the legislative assembly (MLA) Fida Mohammad Nashad took the floor to present the recommendations of the committee that had been mandated by the house to come up with a suitable name. The committee proposed Gilgit-Baltistan and said this was the name which covered all segments of the society and all stakeholders. The committee, consisting of seven members each from all districts, was constituted unanimously by the entire house to decide on a name for the Northern Areas which would be acceptable to all stakeholders of the society. The speaker referred the recommendations to the house and let the members hold a debate on it. Legislative assembly member Ghulam Hussain from Ghanche said the committee deserved appreciation on this historic moment. He said the name Gilgit-Baltistan had a historic background, adding that because of the name Northern Areas the region had suffered a loss, particularly after the devastating earthquake of Azad Kashmir and terrorism in the NWFP. He said the committee had selected a very suitable name so the house should pass it immediately. Ghulam Mohammad said within the given resources the committee had done a wonderful job and worked hard to finalise such a beautiful name for the region. MLA Aftab Haider said 60 years had passed but nothing had been done. It was high time that the house approved the name. MLA Amna Ansari said the entire population of the region identified themselves with the name Gilgit-Baltistan. Rani Attiqa said the entire world knew this area with this name so we should not waste time. She favoured the name and said this was the best option which suited the area. Technocrat Ali Murad said Gilgit-Baltistan was a historic name which was mentioned in the books of history. Technocrat Mohamad Aslam said since the committee was constituted by the house unanimously the name should therefore be approved. Deputy Speaker Syed Asad Zaidi also took the floor and said democratic institutions had democratic norms and the decision of the committee was unanimous. Adviser on Information Sikandar Ali said petty issues should be ignored for the larger interest of the area. However, Adviser on Law Haji Abdul Quddos opposed the name Gilgit-Baltistan and said it would sow hatred among the communities of the region. He argued that there should be one name. MLA Sultan Madad also opposed the name and insisted that the house should not decide the name haphazardly. It should be decided after reaching a consensus, he added. MLA Gul Mera and Technocrat Jan Alam also had reservations about this name. Northern Areas Chief Executive Mir Ghazanfar Ali Khan and Fidaullah Advocate also participated in the debate. The speaker eventually ruled that the recommendations should be sent to the government for implementation.