|Photo credit: Marcin Bondarowicz
As was seen with the War of Liberation, resulting in the birth of Bangladesh, a common religion alone cannot hold different nationalities together. Issues of good governance, economic development, social justice and cultural identity also must be addressed in order for a nation state to sustain its existence. However, four decades since the violence of 1971, areas such as Gilgit-Baltistan remain a target of forced cultural assimilation and racial oppression – especially because the natives oppose Pakistan's Kashmir agenda, and refuse to entertain hideouts and training camps for militants.
The languages of Gilgit-Baltistan can be saved if the authorities adopt adequate language policies, going beyond the rhetoric of granting equal right of preservation and development to all languages and cultures. Foremost, indigenous political institutions such as the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly need to be given the right to legislate on matters pertaining to religion and language, so that locals can adopt requisite policies to preserve their identity.