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The Faultline Between Pakistan & G-B (II)


WENEVER IT CAME to holding a consultative meeting and a table talk with the local leadership for taking them in to confidence, he would always pose dictatorially himself acting like a Military Governor of an occupied territory. He declared himself as the Political Agent appointed by Pakistan Government and imposed Frontier Crime Rules (FCR) in Gilgit. He is referred to as having threatened the local people that if they did not abide his orders, he would go back with Maj Brown, leaving them at the mercy of the Dogra Forces to retake them. (Brown page: 226) During a meeting, Sardar Aalam Khan, the self-made Political Agent, scolded and humiliated Sub.Major Babar Khan the key-person and the leading hero of the successful revolt against Dogra. The humiliation it is said, was resorted to in presence of other princely figures of Gilgit, who were all very closely related to him. Sardar Aalam Khan warned Babar Khan to confine himself only to his duties in military barracks. (Brown page: 287). In such a way, Sardar Aalam Khan reduced and humiliated each and every local elite. Despite obtaining further advice from Qaid e Azam, he threw Gilgit into slavery to suffer an uncertain future indefinitely. A people who were imbued with limitless fervor and fidelity for Pakistan and had a deep yearning to become peaceful Pakistani citizens were subjected to the worst, the ugliest, most un-democratic, un-ethical and unjustified dispensation. Later, it was discovered that Sardar Aalam Khan was a follower of Baacha-Khan the famous pro-Indian Congress-man and a personal friend of Jawahir Lal Nehru. Sardar Alam Khan never attempted to have a friendly and decisive talk with the local leadership to take them onboard for settling crucial matters and help inking a “Treaty” or Memorandum of Understanding/Annexation between the leadership of Gilgit and himself as the “representative” of Pakistan. 
He kept this matter of primary and foremost significance shelved and the “decisions” hidden in an intriguing and diabolical manner in collusion with and with the help of Maj.Brown who had the backing of Col. Cob and General Gracie, the Commander in Chief of Pakistan Army. Thus, he very cleverly kept the doors open for the Dogras of J&K/India to re-occupy Gilgit. As Pakistan then was itself in an agonizing state being faced with innumerable problems like flooding refugees compounded by depressing economic state, the capital of the new-found land lay in the far southern end Karachi whereas Gilgit-Baltitan constituted the northern-most periphery of the country. This naturally rendered communication very difficult. Moreover, there was no one in Pakistan then to ascertain and check the true position to get to know why Sardar Aalam Khan had declared Gilgit as a Political District and a nation who had already opted for Pakistan as their homeland were kept deprived of their genuine and inviolable demand. Perhaps the leaders in Karachi were very happy that Pakistan obtained such a strategically important area so easily without spending a penny which resulted in expansion of Pakistan’s boundaries up to the People’s Republic of China. The tricky decision of the Pakistani representative Sardar Aalam Khan as explained above, as to be seen, resulted into and became the prime reason to create a “Fault-line” between Gilgit Baltistan & Pakistan and always stood as a Fault-Line. Though invisible, it may become reactive at any time and for any reason as the fault lines often do to drift apart the plates from each other causing fatalities.
Evidently, the plot of Maj. Brown became successful. The personality clashes between the Muslim Officers of J&K Infantry led by Capt.Mirza Hassan with the JCOs of Gilgit Scouts harmed the unity among the revolutionary commanders with eventual shattering of the real locus of power and power-sharing on that score. Capt. Hassan Khan in his memoirs “شمشیر سے زنجیر تک” has mentioned these unfortunate events in sarcastic words. No doubt, some accounts of this situation given by Maj. Brown in his book can be taken true. This ironic situation that developed during the early half month of Nov.1947 (1st to 15ht Nov) provided Maj Brown with the opportunity to embark on and further his own revengeful game-plan. What was fundamentally perplexing and highly agonizing for him was the taking of the very revolutionary step without letting him know about the plan by those under his command in Gilgit Scouts and then the ignominy of being put into the Quarter Guard by Capt. Hassan Khan he faced. Here, we see that Maj.Brown had his own agenda to disgrace the elites and people of Gilt while the Pakistan representative had his own agenda to keep Gilgit legally open for Dogras. In this way,Capt. Hassan Khan had his own. It however, becomes evident that Major Brown kept Col.Cob in Peshawar well informed about the situation in Gilgit. In turn, Col.Cob through his daily wireless message, would brief Sardar Aalam that in Gilgit, only Maj.Brown was the key-person to be trusted and all other officers of J&K Infantry, Gilgit Scouts and the civilian elites were all untrustworthy.

 Sardar Aalam Khan declared Gilgit as a Political Agency and imposed Frontier Crime Rules (FCR), all the liberators and the general public who were enthusiastically expecting a positive response from the Centre, in the matter of their being declared Pakistan Citizens became extremely disappointed and heart broken.. When Sardar Aalam took over the administration of Gilgit, Maj Brown, with the help of Col. Cob, got posted himself out of Gilgit and back to his Regiment. To replace him, Captain Aslam Khan (the elder brother of late Air Marshal Asghar Khan) who was indeed a true soldier and faithful to Pakistan, was sent to Gilgit as the Military Commandant. With his gallant and charismatic planning and leadership, the whole area of Gilgit Baltistan became safe from any danger from Dogras whilst an extensive area of 12,000 kms (approx) area as far as Kargil and Ladakh,was also freed from the Dogra Forces. 
With the supports of British Officers working in Pakistan and specially General Douglas Gracey, the British Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Army, Maj.Brown succeeded in convincing the Government of Pakistan that he was the leading and the key person to make the people of Gilgit rise against Dogra State Government and got liberated Gilgit to hand it over to Pakistan.

In a bid to lend credence to his diabolical versions and with a view to beguile the Pakistani authorities in the context of having declared as the so-called hero of Gilgit Liberation, he wrote a book “The Gilgit Rebellion”. Pakistan decorated him with the highly prestigious award of Sitara-e-Imtiyaz. On reading between the lines, the fakeness and high concoctedness of the stories contained in the book regarding his endeavors may become readily ascertainable. The milestone became ascribable to those who didn’t partake of the journey! (منزل انہیں ملی جو شریک سفر نہ تھے) 

Frankly speaking, it pains one to see that since last 71 years, not even a single political leadership or a premier of Pakistan has ever been cognizant of and sensed the intrigues of Sardar Aalam Khan and Major Brown for throwing away quite imprudently such an important region of the world which is so geographically and strategically significant into the jaws and claws of the Dogra State again regardless of its getting total independence.  It is ironical that such a dithering is tantamount to a naked attempt made so nonchalantly as opposed to the stark reality associated with the matter that led to the genesis of what may be appropriately called a “Fault-Line” between the two entities. This “Fault-Line” is primarily in the sense that it may become turbulent at any stage to assume a cataclysmic situation in the face of the present day cyclonic and precarious world politics. And God forbid, lest things should get of control any moment to cause irreparable setback to Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir besides being equally detrimental to the Kashmir Dispute itself while being akin to trample underfoot the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. Though GB stands declared a part of the disputed J&K territory in terms of the UN Resolutions until a Plebiscite for solution of Kashmir Dispute with Pakistan having agreed to it, but nonetheless, this writer still sees light at the end of the tunnel in that there is a legal “avenue” to solve this problem and bring an end to this “Fault-Line” permanently provided there be the will and the resolve on the part of those who matter. It is yet believed sanguinely that sense prevails and those at the helm of affairs take cognizance of the crux of the matter with all seriousness it demands. Let it be hoped that the Federal Government heeds to the proposition this writer proffers and the efficacious remedy or the solution attached with it to bring an end to this  long and unpropitiously drawn-out unnecessary imbroglio.  Only seriousness and sincerity of purpose is needed to away with the figment of imagination which do not in away may be substituted for reality given the correct perspective to the Gilgit-Baltistan narrative.


The writer is a Baltistan-based author, researcher with a deep insight into the regional history and current affairs. He can be reached at Email:


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