People of Gilgit-Baltistan are neither Kashmiris, nor associated with Kashmir dispute: Dr. Iqbal

Gilgit: Gilgit-Baltistan’s Minister for Works Dr. Iqbal on Monday said that neither is the region a part of Kashmir, and nor is it associated with the Kashmir dispute. He said that Kashmiri leaders have been opposing political and constitutional empowerment of Gilgit-Baltistan. He asked Yasin Malik, JKLF leader based in Srinagar, to stop interfering in the affairs of Gilgit-Baltistan.

The Minister, who is one of the top parliamentary members of the ruling PMLN, made these statements while addressing the 24th session of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly.

He said that if need be, he can start a sit-in in front o the parliament house in Islamabad to demand constitutional status for Gilgit-Baltistan.

It is pertinent to note that the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly has in the past passed two resolutions demanding full-fledged constitutional, provincial, status for the region.

Dr. Iqbal, elected from GBLA – 3 (Danyore), also said that Kashmir dispute and other matters are being used as an excuse to keep Gilgit-Baltistan region deprived.

Kacho Imtiaz Haider, another legislator, voiced his support for the Minister’s demand, saying he would also join the sit-in in Islamabad.

The Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly is debating constitutional reforms proposed by the Sataj Aziz Committee, and majority of the house’s members have expressed support of rate reforms, which could mean the end of Gilgit-Baltistan Council, and devolution of more powers to the elected assembly.

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