Srinagar, Apr 28
Pakistan has seemingly shelved its proposal of annexing Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) to make it country”s fifth province. The proposal that has been pushed vigorously in the past decade by the Pakistan establishment seems to have withdrawn at the last minute under International pressure and likely implications that the attempt would have caused in Constitutional status of Jammu Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.
Reports said the issue has been raised by Kashmiri separatist leaders before the Pakistan leadership and the Pakistan’s Prime Minister has reportedly informed their decision to one of the separatist JKLF outfits in Kashmir
The letter comes in response to the communiqué sent by Malik to Pakistan premier in January raising fears over the moves to merge Gilgit Baltistan with Pakistan. “This will have implications on the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir. If Pakistan imposes its sovereign writ over Gilgit Baltistan, India will then have a political and moral right to integrate Kashmir with it,” Malik wrote to Sharif.
Previously known as Northern Areas, the GB had been part of erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. However in 1970, GB was made separate administrative entity, the arrangement which remained until 2009 when it was made self governing territory of Pakistan with separate Legislative Assembly and the chief minister.
The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said Jammu and Kashmir is one unit and it should remain so. “It is now an official commitment that PoK will remain one unit and they don”t want to make it fifth or sixth province,” said Dr Mehboob Beg, chief spokesman of PDP.
BJP, however, said whole of PoK is an integral part of India and any kind of violation by Pakistan will not be accepted. “People of PoK are being oppressed by the Pakistani might. PoK is an integral part of India,” said spokesman of BJP for Kashmir.
Main opposition party the National Conference (NC) said internal autonomy is the political solution because the borders cannot be redrawn. “We do not think borders can be redrawn. Any solution which is acceptable to both countries primary to people of J&K is a viable solution,” said Junaid Mattu, spokesman of the NC.