March 16, 2017 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh: As per the media reports emanating from across the border the Pakistan government is planning to declare the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan better know as the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) region as the fifth province, a move that may raise concerns for India as it borders the disputed region.
As reported by the local media of Pakistan the country’s minister for inter-provincial coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada stated that a committee headed by advisor of foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz had proposed giving the status of a province to Gilgit-Baltistan.
“The committee recommended that Gilgit-Baltistan should be made a province of Pakistan,” Riaz Pirzada said on Wednesday.
He further added that a constitutional amendment would be made to change the status of the region, through which the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor(CPEC) passes.
Gilgit-Baltistan is treated as a separate geographical entity by Pakistan. It has a regional assembly and an elected chief minister, notes the media.
Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh are four provinces of Pakistan.
It is believed that China’s concerns about the unsettled status of Gilgit-Baltistan prompted Pakistan to change its status. Pakistan was mulling to elevate the constitutional status of the region in a bid to provide legal cover to the CPEC, said the Times of India in its report while quoting an editorial published in Dawn newspaper.
The move could signal a historic shift in the country’s position on the future of the wider Kashmir region, the paper had quoted experts as saying.