The federal government has taken the valiant step of granting some bit of autonomy to Gilgit-Baltistan through the Order of Self-Governance & Empowerment it passed recently. Is this package any different from the previous moves by Pakistan government to give political autonomy to the region? One does not know the answer to that question yet but the people of this region have at least welcomed the step of renaming it as 'Gilgit -Baltistan. After all, they have been a victim of the identity crisis for 60 years now. In these six decades of their history, they were supposed to be a part of the AJ&K, even though, they have nothing in common with Kashmiris. They neither have the Kashmiri ethnicity nor affinity with the Kashmiri language and had actually even won their independence from the Dogra Raj on their own. Apart from the magical name change, other parts of the package offered by the new order have been greeted with a lot of skepticism. Under the package, Gilgit-Baltistan will have a Governor as in the other four provinces of Pakistan, without the area being constitutionally made a province. The leader of the Legislative Assembly will be known as the Chief Minister; the assembly will have 33 members, of which 24 will be directly elected. It will have powers to legislate on 61 subjects. In addition, the Governor will head a 12-member Council, with half the members from the assembly and the other half appointed by the Governor. A fresh election for the Legislative Assembly is to be held in November. The empowerment order falls well short of empowering the local population. It actually increases the hold of the federal government by having its powerful Governor running the puppet show with the help of considerable support he would have among the Council members to dilute the power of the assembly and its 'elected leader. The assembly, unfortunately, shall have no right to legislate about natural resources of the area. -GHAZANFAR ALI, Lahore, September 30.