IN a historic development, the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly on Tuesday unanimously adopted a joint resolution to make the region an interim constitutional province of Pakistan.
The resolution asked the federal government and state institutions to give the GB adequate representation in the National Assembly and other federal bodies.
A constitutional amendment is required to meet the longstanding demand of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan which has once again been expressed in the resolution passed by GB Assembly.
Prior to the elections in the region, all the political parties including the ruling had promised to grant it the status of a provisional province.
Now time has come to fulfil that promise through a non-partisan approach.
A threadbare discussion should be held in Parliament on the matter, discussing all the pros and cons so that our longstanding stance on Kashmir dispute is not affected.
Opinion on this can also be taken from the experts of international law.
In our view, the move will not weaken but further consolidate Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir, since it gives constitutional protection to the ‘material change’ clause of the UN Security Council resolution on Kashmir.
The material change clause of the UNSC resolution prevents both Pakistan and India from changing the demographic and cultural landscape of the regions in their respective control.
While India revoked Occupied Jammu and Kashmir’s special status to effect ‘material change’ there, Pakistan’s elevation of GB honours the clause, preserving its indigenous rights and ownership, especially over its land and natural resources.
Ever since the commencement of work on multibillion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC), this region has assumed greater significance for regional trade and economic activities.
Therefore, all out efforts should be made for its development and bring it at par with other developed areas of the country.
This will also help exploit the true tourism potential of this scenic region as well as attract investment in different sectors.
At the same time, the government should also remain fully alert of the evil designs of our enemy which can go to any extent to disturb law and order situation in this important region.