Last modified: 2009-05-18 by ian macdonald
Keywords: pakistan | islamic republic of gilgit | gilgit | gilgit-baltistan | baltistan | swastika |
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by Chris Kretowicz, 28 March 2008
In August 1947, the Governor-General of the Union of India, Lord Mountbatten of Burma, negotiated with the Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh, the accession of his domain to the Union of India, that included the Northern Area, known commonly as Gilgit-Baltistan, which were assigned by the British only recently to the Maharaja of Kashmir. The local population, overwhelmingly Muslim, strongly opposed such a move. Contrary to the policies of the former Viceroy of British India (now the GG of the newly independent Dominion of India), two British officers of the Gilgit Scouts were playing a strange game supportive to the pro-Pakistani sentiments of the local population and troops under their command. They were Maj. William Alexander Brown and Capt. Mathieson. Maj.Brown, faced with the advance of Swat and Chitral troops on Gilgit, and unsure of the loyalty of his Gilgit Scout in stopping the invasion bent on the massacring the Hindus (Dogra) officials and soldiers, tried to persuade the Kashmiri-appointed local governor, Brig.Ghansar Singh to hold the referendum to decide the future belonging of the Gilgit-Baltistan area. When the governor refused, Maj.Brown got him arrested and placed into protective custody together with other Dogra officers and soldiers. Thus, Maj.Brown became instrumental in frustrating attempts of Mountbatten to hand the entire Northern Area, as part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, to India and helped to fulfill the aspiration of local Muslims to join Pakistan rather.
On November 1,1947 the Islamic Republic of Gilgit was proclaimed with Raja
Shah Rais Khan, (member of the local ruling dynasty) as its president. The flag
of the new republic was raised over the governor's mansion and the new
government claimed the area of Gilgit-Baltistan, several princely states, Kargil
and Ladakh as its territory. with the aim of joining the Dominion of Pakistan.
The Republic came to an end on November 16,1947 with the arrival of the
Pakistani Agent, Sardar Mohammad Alam, who took the area into Pakistani
possession. The war continued into 1948 with Pakistan holding to all of Northern
Area and chunk of the State of Jammu and Kashmir known as Azad Kashmir.
Maj.Brown's role in securing the area for Pakistan was finally acknowledged by
President Parvez Musharaf by bestowing posthumously the title Sitara-e- Pakistan
in 1994, received by his widow, who also brought from Scotland many documents
untangling the complicated history of the events of 1947.
The flag of the Islamic Republic of Gilgit is my reconstruction based on description of Abdul Hamid Khan,Chairman of the Balawaristan National Front. The position of the crescent and star is not entirely clear, but most of the friends of Abdul Hamid Khan tend to remember it a little skewed, similar to the Pakistani flag.
Chris Kretowicz, 28 March 2008
by Chris Kretowicz, 28 March 2008
The flag of Gilgit-Baltistan State as proposed by Gilgit-Baltistan United
corresponds in the color scheme to the one of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation
The GBUM idea for the State of Gilgit-Baltistan comes from the existence of the independent Islamic Republic of Gilgit (Islami Jamhooriya Gilgit) in November 1947. The region is of extreme strategic importance in the future worldwide political configuration due to its location and immense natural resources, of which fresh water is of the utmost significance. There is a very interesting article written by the GBUM Chairman, Mr.Manzoor Hussain Parwana at: http://kashmiraffairs.org/Manzoor_Parwana_revival_gilgit_baltistan_sovereignty.html.
Mr.Parwana is the source for the image of the flag which I reconstructed.
Chrystian Kretowicz, 28 March 2008