Tue. Jun 6th, 2023

Proposal suggests making Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir the provinces of Pakistan

Islamabad, January 14: A proposal sent by the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan has suggested that the regions of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan be made the 5th and 6th provinces Pakistan. Based on recommendations proposed by former Chief Justice of Azad Kashmir and former Inspector General of Police, Afzal Shigri, the Ministry has also proposed establishment of an inclusive committee comprising stakeholders from both regions to further discuss the proposed reforms.

It is pertinent to note that Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan cannot become provinces of Pakistan without amendment in the constitution, for which a two-third majority would be needed in the national assembly and senate.

India has allowed provisional provincial status for the territory under its control. However, the regions of Gilgit-Baltistan do not enjoy any constitutional status, despite of being governed by Pakistan. The area of Azad Kashmir has its own constitution, supreme court and legislative assembly. However, it is not fully autonomous and it is being governed through the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan.

The people of Gilgit-Baltistan have been demanding full citizenship rights within Pakistan. Denial of constitutional rights has also led to dissent in the region during the last 66 years, resulting in strengthening of nationalistic and separatist movements.

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