Balawaristan National Front (Naji)

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The Balawaristan National Front (Naji) (Urdu: بلاورستان نيشنل فرنٹ (ناجی)‎, romanizedBalāwaristān Naishanal Franṭ (Nājī) abbr. BNF(N)), more commonly known as the BNF(N), is a minor political party of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan which calls for Gilgit-Baltistan to be given autonomy while still remaining a part of the federation of Pakistan (similar to Azad Kashmir).[3]

Balawaristan National Front (Naji)


بلاورستان نيشنل فرنٹ (ناجی)
AbbreviationBNF(N)
LeaderNawaz Khan Naji
SpokespersonShafqat Inqilabi[citation needed]
FounderNawaz Khan Naji
FoundedDecember 28, 1989[1]
HeadquartersGhizer District[1]
IdeologyAutonomy for Gilgit-Baltistan
Self-determination
Anti-taxation
Colors  Gold
Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly
1 / 33
Election symbol
Revolver[2]

The party is led by Nawaz Khan Naji and has been represented in the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly by a single member, the aforementioned Nawaz Khan Naji, since 2011.[4][5][6][7]

The party is thought to have high amounts of support in Ghizer District, where Naji is from, and from smaller isolated pockets throughout the rest of Gilgit-Baltistan.[1]

IdeologyEdit

  • The BNF(N) believes that Gilgit-Baltistan is a disputed territory.[3]
  • The BNF(N) believes that Gilgit-Baltistan is a distinct entity and is separate from the rest of the Kashmir region.[citation needed][3]
  • The BNF(N) believes that the rulings of the Supreme Court of Pakistan should not be effective in Gilgit-Baltistan on account of it being disputed.[3]
  • The BNF(N) believes that Gilgit-Baltistan should be considered a "tax-free zone" and that the Federal Board of Revenue has no right to collect taxes from Gilgit-Baltistan, because Gilgit-Baltistan is a disputed territory.[8]
  • The main goal of the BNF(N) is to make Gilgit-Baltistan a self-governing, autonomous, constitutionally-recognized region within Pakistan, similar to Azad Kashmir, until the Kashmir Plebiscite.[3][9]
  • While the BNF(N) at its core wishes for the independence of Gilgit-Baltistan, the BNF(N) also believes in self-determination, and believes that the final say of Gilgit-Baltistan's status belongs with the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.[7]
  • The BNF(N) has expressed support for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.[10]

HistoryEdit

The Balawaristan National Front was formed by Abdul Hamid Khan (politician) and Nawaz Khan Naji, but has broken into two parties since then, the BNF(H) and BNF(N). This was because Abdul Hamid Khan had far more extreme views and was much more strongly nationalist than Naji, who restricted his demands to autonomy. The BNF(H) was banned by the government of Pakistan.[1]

In 2011, the BNF(N) fielded Nawaz Khan Naji, in Constituency GBA-19 (Ghizer-I) in order to win the by-poll that was occurring there. He won with 8,299 votes, and over 3,000 more votes than his closest competitor, Karim Ahmed Shah of the PML(N). After his victory, Naji was reported as having said "We have contested elections in the past but it is our first win in the legislative assembly".[4][5][6]

Upon taking the oath of office on June 6, 2011, Naji promised to remain faithful to the state of Pakistan, and reaffirmed his belief that while his party wished to see Gilgit-Baltistan be a separate state, the final status of Gilgit-Baltistan had to be decided by the people of Gilgit-Baltistan rather than just one person or party.[7]

Although he was the only nationalist member of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly, he was welcomed in and was given support by other members after he took his oath. One member of the assembly, Independent politician Deedar Ali, said (while talking about Naji): "If others try to sideline a member in the assembly, we will support him".[7]

Naji once again ran in the 2015 Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly election to represent his constituency, GBA-19 (Ghizer-I), this time as an Independent politician, and won the contest with 5,259 votes (26.99% of the vote), narrowly edging out the PML(N)'s candidate, Shakeel Ahmed.[11] After winning the election, he switched his official party allegiance to "Balawaristan National Front".[12]

The BNF(N) did not officially field any candidates once again in the 2020 Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly election, but Naji once again ran to represent his constituency, GBA-19 (Ghizer-I), in 2020. Preliminary and unofficial results have shown Naji is the winner in this constituency once again, winning 6,208 votes, over 1,000 more votes than his closest competitor, Pir Jalal Ali Shah of the Pakistan Peoples Party, who received 4,967 votes. He still claims himself as the leader of the BNF(N) on all social media websites, though, and certain news outlets have reported this as a victory for the BNF(N),[13] even though he officially has run as an independent candidate.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Yusufzai, Rahimullah (26 May 2019). "The curious case of BNF-H". The curious case of BNF-H | Dialogue | thenews.com.pk. The News International. Archived from the original on 18 November 2020. Retrieved 18 November 2020. Belonging to the Yasin valley in Ghizer district in Gilgit-Baltistan, Abdul Hameed Khan had a nationalist bent of mind and on July 31, 1992 he launched the BNF together with Nawaz Khan Naji, Mohammad Rafiq and Shujaat Ali. Said to be aged more than 50 years old, Abdul Hameed Khan’s extreme views led to a split in the BNF when Nawaz Khan Naji broke away and formed his own faction on December 28, 1989 to restrict his demand to maximum autonomy for Gilgit-Baltistan in the federation of Pakistan. Nawaz Khan Naji subsequently entered electoral politics and has twice won a seat in the 33-member Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly from his native Ghizer district. It hasn’t been easy winning from Ghizer as politics in the district has been dominated for decades by the family of Pir Karam Ali Shah, who had a long association with the PPP.

    Ghizer, where the majority of population is Ismaili, has been a stronghold of nationalists. Both Abdul Hameed Khan and Nawaz Khan Naji belong to Ghizer, but the factionalism in the BNF would continue to affect its popularity. The BNF also has small pockets of support elsewhere in Gilgit-Baltistan, but it has never been enough to win seats in the legislative assembly.
  2. ^ "FINAL LIST OF CONTESTED CANDIDATES WITH ALLOCATED OF SYMBOL WHO HAVE FILED NOMINATION PAPERS WITH RETURNING OFFICERS OF 24 CONSTITUENCIES OF GILGIT-BALTISTAN" (PDF). contesting Candidates 2020.pdf. ELECTION COMMISSION GILGIT-BALTISTAN. 13 November 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on 18 November 2020. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e Yusufzai, Arshad (10 February 2019). "Contested status". Contested status | Political Economy | thenews.com.pk. The News International. Archived from the original on 17 November 2020. Retrieved 18 November 2020. Nawaz Khan Naji, head of Balawaristan National Front, partly approved the judgment of the SC by saying that GB is a disputed territory between Pakistan and India. "However, the court has exceeded its jurisdiction as it cannot issue orders to GB. The Supreme Court can only issue orders to the government of Pakistan as GB does not come under its jurisdiction. The SCP cannot implement the judgment either," he said.

    Nawaz Khan Naji added that the people of GB want to be a part of Pakistan. "A win-win situation for both the federation and the people of GB will be to give autonomy to GB similar to the one practised in Azad Jammu and Kashmir."
  4. ^ a b "Gilgit-Baltistan shocker: Nationalist candidate wins Ghizer by-poll". Gilgit-Baltistan shocker: Nationalist candidate wins Ghizer by-poll | The Express Tribune. The Express Tribune. 30 April 2011. Archived from the original on 28 March 2019. Retrieved 18 November 2020. GILGIT/GAKHUCH: The founder of the Balwaristan National Front (BNF), Nawaz Khan Naji, won the by-election in Gilgit-Baltistan’s Ghizer constituency, hometown of Gilgit-Baltistan Governor Pir Karam Ali Shah, on Friday.
  5. ^ a b "Nawaz Khan Naji wins G-B by-elections". Nawaz Khan Naji wins G-B by-elections | The Express Tribune. The Express Tribune. 29 April 2011. Archived from the original on 22 March 2016. Retrieved 18 November 2020. Nawaz Khan Naji from the Balawarastan National Front won the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly by-elections in the L-A 19 constituency of Ghazar on Friday.
  6. ^ a b "GBLA ELECTIONS-2009" (PDF). contested 2009.pdf. ELECTION COMMISSION GILGIT -BALTISTAN. 2009–2015. Archived (PDF) from the original on 18 November 2020. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d "Nawaz Khan Naji takes oath of GBLA membership". Nawaz Khan Naji takes oath of GBLA membership - PAMIR TIMES. Pamir Times. 6 June 2011. Archived from the original on 22 September 2019. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  8. ^ "Lawmakers want GB declared tax-free zone". Lawmakers want GB declared tax-free zone - Newspaper - DAWN.COM. DAWN.COM. 14 April 2018. Archived from the original on 15 April 2018. Taking part in the discussion opposition lawmaker Nawaz Khan Naji said it would be considered discrimination against the GB people by the centre if the region was not declared a tax-free zone.
    “When we demand constitutional rights, it is argued that GB is a disputed territory, but if GB is a disputed region than how FBR rules are applicable here,” he questioned.
  9. ^ "Pakistan Grants Provisional Provincial Status to Gilgit-Baltistan". Minority Reporter - Pakistan Grants Provisional Provincial Status to Gilgit-Baltistan. Minority Reporter. 28 September 2020. Archived from the original on 29 October 2020. Retrieved 19 November 2020. Nawaz Khan Naji, a former member of the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly, said the majority of the population, from day one, has been in favor of being part of Pakistan and wants complete constitutional authority. However, Naji believes that Gilgit-Baltistan should be granted a status like Pakistan-administered Kashmir until the Kashmir issue is resolved.
    “I favor this stance because I do not want any international complications in the settlement of the Kashmir dispute or a situation India might take advantage of.”
  10. ^ Zahid, Khadija (2 April 2017). "Fate of Gilgit Baltistan under CPEC". Fate of Gilgit Baltistan under CPEC | Pakistan Today. Pakistan Today. Archived from the original on 2 April 2017. Retrieved 19 November 2020. “We have no issues regarding China Pakistan Economic Corridor,” said Nawaz Khan Naji, Head Balawaristan National Front.
  11. ^ "Elections 2015 RESULT OF ELECTION, 2015". ELECTION COMMISSION GB. ELECTION COMMISSION GILGIT BALTISTAN. 2015. Archived from the original on 7 November 2020. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  12. ^ "MEMBERS". Members - Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly. Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly. 2015–2020. Archived from the original on 23 November 2020.
  13. ^ "GB ELECTIONS: PTI TAKES LEAD IN GILGIT-BALTISTAN". GB ELECTIONS: PTI TAKES LEAD IN GILGIT-BALTISTAN - SUCH TV. SuchTV. 16 November 2020. Archived from the original on 23 November 2020. Retrieved 23 November 2020.