Gilgit-Baltistan:GBLA Demands Provincial Setup for the Region

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Gilgit (PT): The Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) Tuesday approved a resolution demanding complete provincial status for the Gilgit-Baltistan region. The resolution was jointly tabled by MLA Muhammad Ayub (Ghizar) and Mutabiat Shah (Hunza-Nagar) of PPP, Amina Ansari (Ghanche) of PMLQ and Agha Muhammad Ali and Raja Azam (Skardu) of MQM. Independent candidate Deedar Ali was also part of the group moving the resolution.

The house approved the resolution and supported the idea and demand of granting constitutional provincial status for the Gilgit-Baltistan region.

The resolution was supported by vast majority of the assembly’s members, save for a couple of people who had reservations about it.

The resolution will also have to be approved by the GB Council, headed by the sitting Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Opposition

MLA Nawaz Khan Naji, Supreme Leader of the Balawaristan National Front – the only nationalist leader in the house, opposed the bill. He said that the resolution is useless because the status of GB is tied with the resolution of Kashmir dispute, which is pending at the UN for almost 6 decades. He, instead, demanded internal autonomy for GB under the supervision of the United Nations.

MLA Rehmat Khaliq while opposing the law suggested that a committee should be formed within the house to further improve the resolution and launch a strong drive for constitutional status.

MLA Raziuddin Rizvi also said that the resolution is likely to remain ineffective because GB is part of the Kashmir dispute and even the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan cannot do much to change the situation.

Kashmiri nationalist and other political groups have also opposed the resolution, calling it an effort to divide the “undivided stat of Jammu and Kashmir”. They have said that giving GB a provincial status will provide precedence for India to annex the parts of Kashmir under its control. It is pertinent to note that Kashmiris claim GB to be “an integral part of Kashmir”, a claim that has been widely opposed and condemned by majority of people of the Gilgit – Baltistan region.

Majority of the people of GB are in favour of becoming a part of Pakistan and the approval of the resolution today at GBLA seemingly reflects the popular will of the people.

UN Laws

The regional lawmakers ignored the UN laws, saying they meant nothing because the UN is an ineffective organization, unable to resolve any international dispute during the last several decades.

Skardu – Kargil Road

MLA Amina Ansari from Ghanche district of Baltistan presented a resolution demanding the opening of the historical Skardu – Kargil road. Amina’s resolution was unanimously approved by the house.

Opening of the road is likely to create ease of traveling for the people of Baltistan who have cultural and familial ties across the border.

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