Pakistan’s move to elevate GB to provincial status

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Observer Report

PAKISTAN is set to elevate Gilgit Baltistan (GB) to provincial status. With this single move, Pakistan will be able to meet at least 7 decades old demand of people of Gilgit-Baltistan to merge with main land constitutionally, secure vital geo-strategic route of China Pakistan Economic Corridor and protect tourism, economic water and energy interests (Bunji & Diamer-Bhasha Dam etc).

However, few quarters have raised objections to the move on varying narratives which need to be addressed.

All stake holders including key political parties have agreed to the proposal of grant of provisional provincial status to the gilgit Baltistan.

Decision will meet long term aspirations of people and will help address local concerns and issues of representation, please.

In September 2020, the government of Pakistan announced its intention to make Gilgit-Baltistan an interim province that had representation in the parliament.

On November 1, 2020, Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that his government would give the provisional provincial status to the region.

The government also issued a new political map on August 4, 2020, showing the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, including Gilgit-Baltistan, as a disputed region awaiting settlement based on the United Nation Security Council resolution.

On March 9, 2021, the Gilgit-Baltistan legislative assembly unanimously adopted a resolution to make the region an interim province of the country.

The resolution stated that a bill to amend the constitution of Pakistan to declare Gilgit-Baltistan a province should be passed keeping view Pakistan’s principal stance on Kashmir.

The opposition parties have agreed, in principle, to support the move to make Gilgit-Baltistan an interim province.

The people of the region want their area to be merged into Pakistan and be declared as a separate province.

This action will have no negative effects on the Kashmir issue as it will be linked to the final settlement of the issued based on Pakistan’s principal stand.

The people of Gilgit-Baltistan would continue to support their Kashmiri brothers politically and morally.

Pakistan is only granting provisional provincial status Gilgit-Baltistan while its stance on United Nation Security Council resolution on Kashmir remains the same.

Pakistan and China jointly built KKH through Gilgit-Baltistan, China Pakistan Economic Corridor follows the same route.

Joint resistance on Kashmir has been taken into confidence and they already understand that India relies on twisting of facts and fake news.

Pakistan political and military leadership has raised the issue of Indian Illegally Occupied Jamu and Kashmir on international forums (United Nation Security Council, UNGA, HR organization) and there is no compromise on right of self-determination of Kashmiris.

Past government followed a policy of appeasement of India and put the Kashmir issue at the back burner.

Such stance on Kashmir encouraged Modi to change the status of Indian Illegally Occupied Jamu and Kashmir.

Pakistan’s Armed Forces responded aggressively in February 2019 through operation swift Retort.

People of Gilgit-Baltistan fought for liberation of Gilgit-Baltistan and have demanded for provisional status of a province, the new arrangement wioll have a provision to cater for plebiscite as per United Nation Security Council resolution for final settlement of the issue.

Grant of provincial status to the Gilgit-Baltistan will be a landmark step in opening new avenues of development for the area.

Federal Government has already embarked upon a comprehensive programmes for development of tourism in Northern Areas, a regin second to none in beauty, charm and hospitality in the world.

China Pakistan Economic Corridor related infrastructural developments have further eased the traveling and will contribute to positive developments.