- Nearchus, Megasthenes, Pliny
- the geographical lists of the Puranas
Map of Tibetan Empire Citing the Areas of Gilgit-BaltistanMap of Tibetan Empire citing the areas of Gilgit-Baltistan as part of its kingdom in 780–790 CE.Between 399 and 414, the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Faxian (Fa-hsien) visited Gilgit-Baltistan, while in the 6th century Somana Palola (greater Gilgit-Chilas) was ruled by an unknown king. Between 627 and 645, the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Xuanzang (Hsüan-tsang) travelled through this region. From 644 to 655, Navasurendrādityanandi was King of Palola (Gilgit ). In 706/707, Jayamaṅgalavikramādityanandi became king of Palola. It is said that in the year 717, a delegation of a ruler of great Palola, named Su-fu-she-li-ji-li-ni according to the transcription of Chinese characters, reached the Chinese imperial court. In 719, Su-fu-she-li-ji-li-ni, King of Palola, sent a second delegation to the Chinese Imperial court. By at least 719/720, Ladakh (Mard) was part of the Tibetan Empire. By that time, Buddhism was practiced in Baltistan, and Sanskrit was the written language. It is unknown if Baltistan temporarily was ruled under Palola at that time. In 720, the delegation of Sou-lin-t'o i che (= Surendrāditya), King of Palola, went to the Chinese imperial court. The Emperor gave the ruler of Cashmere, "Tchen-fo-lo-pi-li (Chandrāpīḍa)", the title of "King of Cashmere". By 721/722, Baltistan had become part of the Tibetan Empire.
Conquest of Little Palola or Bru-zha Yasin
Anchan ReignAnchan reign brought prosperity and entertained art, sport, and variety in architecture. He introduced polo to the Gilgit region and from Chitral he sent a group of musicians to Delhi to learn Indian music; the Mughal architecture influenced the architecture of the region as well. Later Anchan in his successors Abdal Khan had great influence though in the popular literature of Baltistan he is still alive as dark figure by the nickname "Mizos" "man-eater". The last Maqpons Raja, Ahmed Shah, ruled all of Baltistan between 1811–1840. The areas of Gilgit, Chitral and Hunza had already become independent of the Maqpons.
Dogra Commander Wasir LakhpatIn 1842, Dogra Commander Wasir Lakhpat, with the active support of Ali Sher Khan (III) from lKartaksho, conquered Baltistan for the second time. There was a violent capture of the fortress of Kharphocho. Haidar Khan from Shigar, one of the leaders of the uprising against the Dogras,was imprisoned and died in captivity. Gosaun was appointed as administrator (Thanadar) of Baltistan and till 1860, the entire region of Gilgit-Baltistan was under the Sikhs and then the Dogras.
Defeat of the SikhsAfter the defeat of the Sikhs in the First Anglo-Sikh War, the region became a part of the princely state called Jammu and Kashmir which since 1846 remained under the rule of the Dogras. The population in Gilgit perceived itself to be ethnically different from Kashmiris and disliked being ruled by the Kashmir state. The region remained with the princely state, with temporary leases of some areas assigned to the British, until 1 November 1947.
2-First Kashmir War
Gilgits Population did not FavourGilgit's population did not favour the State's accession to India. The Muslims of the Frontier Districts Province (modern day Gilgit-Baltistan) had wanted to join Pakistan. Sensing their discontent, Major William Brown, the Maharaja's commander of the Gilgit Scouts, mutinied on 1 November 1947, overthrowing the Governor Ghansara Singh. The bloodless coup d'etat was planned by Brown to the last detail under the code name "Datta Khel", which was also joined by a rebellious section of the Jammu and Kashmir 6th Infantry under Mirza Hassan Khan. Brown ensured that the treasury was secured and minorities were protected. A provisional government (Aburi Hakoomat) was established by the Gilgit locals with Raja Shah Rais Khan as the president and Mirza Hassan Khan as the commander-in-chief. However, Major Brown had already telegraphed Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan asking Pakistan to take over. The Pakistani political agent, Khan Mohammad Alam Khan, arrived on 16 November and took over the administration of Gilgit. Brown outmaneuvered the pro-Independence group and secured the approval of the mirs and rajas for accession to Pakistan. Browns's actions surprised the British Government. According to Brown,
Provisional GovernmentThe provisional government lasted 16 days. The provisional government lacked sway over the population. The Gilgit rebellion did not have civilian involvement and was solely the work of military leaders, not all of whom had been in favor of joining Pakistan, at least in the short term. Historian Ahmed Hasan Dani mentions that although there was lack of public participation in the rebellion, pro-Pakistan sentiments were intense in the civilian population and their anti-Kashmiri sentiments were also clear. According to various scholars, the people of Gilgit as well as those of Chilas, Koh Ghizr, Ishkoman, Yasin, Punial, Hunza and Nagar joined Pakistan by choice.
Control of GilgitAfter taking control of Gilgit, the Gilgit Scouts along with Azad irregulars moved towards Baltistan and Ladakh and captured Skardu by May 1948. They successfully blocked the Indian reinforcements and subsequently captured Dras and Kargill as well, cutting off the Indian communications to Leh in Ladakh. The Indian forces mounted an offensive in Autumn 1948 and recaptured all of Kargil district. Baltistan region, however, came under Gilgit control.
Council Passed a ResolutionOn 1 January 1948, India took the issue of Jammu and Kashmir to the United Nations Security Council. In April 1948, the Council passed a resolution calling for Pakistan to withdraw from all of Jammu and Kashmir and India to reduce its forces to the minimum level, following which a plebiscite would be held to ascertain the people's wishes. However, no withdrawal was ever carried out, India insisting that Pakistan had to withdraw first and Pakistan contending that there was no guarantee that India would withdraw afterwards.Gilgit-Baltistan and a western portion of the state called Azad Jammu and Kashmir have remained under the control of Pakistan since then.
Two ReasonsThere were two reasons why administration was transferred from Azad Kashmir to Pakistan: (1) the region was inaccessible to Azad Kashmir and (2) because both the governments of Azad Kashmir and Pakistan knew that the people of the region were in favour of joining Pakistan in a potential referendum over Kashmir's final status.
International Crisis GroupAccording to the International Crisis Group, the Karachi Agreement is highly unpopular in Gilgit-Baltistan because Gilgit-Baltistan was not a party to it even while its fate was being decided upon.
Gilgit-Baltistan was Governed
Remoteness of Gilgit-BaltistanA primary reason for this state of affairs was the remoteness of Gilgit-Baltistan. Another factor was that the whole of Pakistan itself was deficient in democratic norms and principles, therefore the federal government did not prioritise democratic development in the region. There was also a lack of public pressure as an active civil society was absent in the region, with young educated residents usually opting to live in Pakistan's urban centers instead of staying in the region.
Two Parts of the TerritoryIn 1970 the two parts of the territory, viz., the Gilgit Agency and Baltistan, were merged into a single administrative unit, and given the name "Northern Areas".The Shaksgam tract was ceded by Pakistan to China following the signing of the Sino-Pakistani Frontier Agreement in 1963. In 1969, a Northern Areas Advisory Council (NAAC) was created, later renamed to Northern Areas Council (NAC) in 1974 and Northern Areas Legislative Council (NALC) in 1994. But it was devoid of legislative powers. All law-making was concentrated in the KANA Ministry of Pakistan. In 1994, a Legal Framework Order (LFO) was created by the KANA Ministry to serve as the de facto constitution for the region.
President of Al-Jihad TrustIn the late 1990s, the President of Al-Jihad Trust filed a petition in the Supreme Court of Pakistan to determine the legal status of Gilgit-Baltistan. In its judgement of 28 May 1999, the Court directed the Government of Pakistan to ensure the provision of equal rights to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, and gave it six months to do so. Following the Supreme Court decision the government took several steps to devolve power to the local level. However, in several policy circles the point was raised that the Pakistani government was helpless to comply with the court verdict because of the strong political and sectarian divisions in Gilgit-Baltistan and also because of the territory's historical connection with the still disputed Kashmir region and this prevented the determination of Gilgit-Baltistan's real status.
Deputy Chief ExecutiveA position of 'Deputy Chief Executive' was created to act as the local administrator, but the real powers still rested with the 'Chief Executive', who was the Federal Minister of KANA. "The secretaries were more powerful than the concerned advisors," in the words of one commentator. In spite of various reforms packages over the years, the situation is essentially unchanged.Meanwhile, public rage in Gilgit-Baltistan is "growing alarmingly." Prominent "antagonist groups" have mushroomed protesting the absence of civic rights and democracy.Pakistan government has been debating the grant of a provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan.
PPP-led Pakistani Government
People of Gilgit-BaltistanThe people of Gilgit-Baltistan want to be merged into Pakistan as a separate fifth province, however, leaders of Azad Kashmir are opposed to any step to integrate Gilgit-Baltistan into Pakistan. The people of Gilgit-Baltistan oppose any integration with Kashmir and instead want Pakistani citizenship and constitutional status for their region.
ClimateThe Climate of Gilgit varies from region to region; surrounding mountain ranges creates sharp variations in weather. The eastern part has the moist zone of the western Himalayas, but going towards Karakoram and Hindu Kush the climate dries considerably. Gilgit is hot during the day in summer yet cold at night and valleys like Astore, Khalpu, Yasin, Hunza and Nagar where the temperature is cold even during the summer.
AltitudeAt an altitude of 1,500 meters Gilgit has a desert climate with warm summers and cold winters. During the summer temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius are uncommon. Winters are cold longer periods with subzero temperatures are not uncommon. Precipitation figures are low all year round. During the winter precipitation often falls in the form of snow or hail.
LanguageUrdu and English are the official languages spoken while other languages include Pushto and Punjabi. Shina is the basic language spoken by most of the original settlers but the new comers have various backgrounds of languages and cultures. Other key languages spoken in Gilgit are:
PeopleAs Gilgit is a multicultural city and there are a lot of different languages spoken in Gilgit which has an effect on the attitudes of people as well. Many citizens are following the old traditions and customs while others are enjoying a modern lifestyle which is influenced by other cultures, media and education.
- Eid-e- Ghadir
- Eid ul Azha
- Eid Milad un Nabi
- Eid ul Fitr
- Jashn e Baharan
- Shandoor Polo Festival
- Babusar Polo Festival
- Harvest time festival
MusicThe instruments commonly used in Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan are Dadang (drum), Damal and Surnai while some other instruments like Sitar, Gabi(Flute) Rabab and duff represent the different areas. Beside this khiling-boo.chang, porgho-too etc instruments are used in Baltistan region.
Types of Music
- Alghani: The people of Gilgit, Ghizer Yasin, Puniyal, and Gupis call this rhythm as Alghani
- Ajoli: During departure of bride and groom from house this rhythm is used in different parts of Gilgit
- Souse: A martial rhythm and it has a fast rhythm and is used specially in sword dances.
- Dani: Dani is the name of a traditional music used in Hunza which links to Tibet, Baltistan and Laddakh.
- Old Man Dance: In this dance more than one man wears some old style dresses and dance.
- Sword Dance: In this unique dance the participants show taking one sword in right and shield in left. One to six participants as pair can dance.
- Cow Boy Dance: In this dance a person wears old style dress, long leather shoes and a stick in hand.
- Gilgit Bridge: Bridge over the fast flowing Gilgit River, at the end of its traditional bazaar, is the largest suspension bridge in Asia (182 metres long and 2 metres wide) permitting enough room for one jeep ata time to cross
- Kargah Buddha: Located on a rock near Kargah Nullah 10 km. from Gilgit town is a beautiful rock engraving of Buddha from 7th century A.D.
- Monument of Taj Mughal: A victory monument of Taj Mughal, built 700 years ago, is 30 km
- Sher Qilla: It is 38 km from Gilgit. Trekking route links with Naltar valley. Trout fishing can be enjoyed in Sher Qilla Nullah and a small lake.
- Singal: About 61 km from Gilgit. Trekking route links with Chilas and Kohistan valley.
- Gahkuch: Headquarter of Ghizer Distric it is an Ideal place for trekking, good fishing sports and duck shooting in season. It is the gateway to Iskoman Valley. Government rest house and private hotels are available (73 km from Gilgit).
- Naltar Valley: Two hours jeep drive from Gilgit link rod. Government Rest house, Private hotels and a Ski slope, lush green Alpine forest with small lakes and glaciers, trout fishing in lake
ConclusionGilgit is perhaps the most beautiful area of Pakistan because of its geography and scenic beauty. It has a mix of a lot of culture which makes it even more important. Gilgit is also strategically the most important region in the Karakoram’s. So the people of Pakistan should realize this importance too and take care of it as it’s a valuable asset for Pakistan.
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