GB Assembly unanimously demands provisional provincial status

In a historic resolution in Gilgit Baltistan Assembly, all parties unanimously demand interim provincial status for GB to ensure constitutional rights for the people.

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Gilgit Baltistan Assembly on Tuesday unanimously adopted a joint resolution demanding that the region be granted the provisional provincial status, providing it with representation on different platforms.

The resolution was Jointly tabled by the Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid Khan of PTI, Opposition leader Amjad Hussain from the PPP, and representatives of PML-N, MWM, JUI-F, and (Gilgit Baltistan) GB minister Raja Azam Khan.

It stated that Parliament should table and pass a bill to amend the constitution and declare Gilgit Baltistan as a provisional province. According to the bill, this will not hamper Pakistan’s position on Kashmir on international forums but will give the people the much-awaited representation.

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The house also emphasized that the population of Gilgit Baltistan will continue their full moral and political support for the rights of the people of occupied Kashmir. The house unanimously passed the resolution.

The assembly forwarded the copy of the resolution to the PM’s secretariat.

Taking to Twitter, the chief minister of GB, Khalid Khurshid Khan said, “Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly unanimously passed a historic resolution demanding the provision of constitutional rights to the region.”

He said, “The demand for constitutional rights is a unanimous demand of the people of GB, not that of an individual/ party. The unity we’ve shown on this issue needs to be repeated again at a federal level.”

Posting the original picture of the resolution, Minister for Science and Technology, Mr. Fawad Ch. Said that it is, “truly a leap forward”, congratulating the stakeholders.

History of Gilgit Baltistan

On 1st November 1947, the Gilgit region officially gained independence from the British and acceded the “Islamic Republic of Gilgit” to Pakistan after 15 days on 16th of November, while the Baltistan region gained its independence, after a year of bloody war against the Kashmir army, in 1948.  Despite arguments from Pakistan and India, the people of GB have never accepted being part of the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir.

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Reportedly, Pakistan linked GB with Kashmir in anticipation of gaining more votes in a possible United Nations’ plebiscite for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, making it a disputed territory.

According to the GB’s scholars, Kashmir’s Dogras captured Baltistan through military aggression and the people never accepted their rule, both reasons to why the region cannot justifiably be associated with Kashmir.

Moving forward to 2009, the Gilgit Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order, 2009, was passed by the Pakistani cabinet and later signed by the President of Pakistan. The order granted self-rule to the people of the former Northern Areas, now renamed Gilgit Baltistan, by creating, among other things, an elected legislative assembly.

This led to an elevated sense of identity in the region, but they still did not have any representation. However, in November 2020, Ali Amin Gandapur, the Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan had announced that the federal government had decided to elevate the status of GB to a province.

Read More: PM Imran Khan calls Gilgit Baltistan his ‘favourite place’ on earth

In December, PM Khan formed a 12-member committee to make recommendations in this regard. Headed by Gandapur, it constitutes CM Muhammad Khalid Khurshid, the attorney general of Pakistan, federal secretaries for finance, defense, foreign affairs, parliamentary affairs, GB chief secretary, joint secretary of the GB Council and representatives of security agencies.

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