Pakistan to grant new status to Gilgit-Baltistan
Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – International Relations; Health
In news Pakistani authorities have finalised a law to award provisional provincial status to strategically located Gilgit-Baltistan.
- Under the proposed law, the Supreme Appellate Court (SAC) of Gilgit-Baltistan may be abolished and the region’s election commission is likely to be merged with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).
- G-B will become the fifth province of Pakistan. Currently, Pakistan has four provinces – Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and Sindh.
- This elevation will lead to adequate representation from the province on all constitutional bodies, including the National Assembly and the Senate.
- India has clearly conveyed to Pakistan that the entire Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including the areas of Gilgit and Baltistan, are an integral part of the country by virtue of its fully legal and irrevocable accession.
- India maintains the Government of Pakistan or its judiciary has no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it (during 1948 war).
- The region is claimed by India as part of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu & Kashmir as it existed in 1947 at its accession to India.
- Gilgit-Baltistan is the northernmost territory administered by Pakistan, providing the country’s only territorial frontier, and thus a land route, with China, where it meets the Xinjiang Autonomous Region.
- Until now, Gilgit-Baltistan was governed as a separate entity by Pakistan and not as a part of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
- Islamabad had hesitated to declare it a province of Pakistan because of its claim that J&K is disputed territory and its future must be decided by a plebiscite among all its inhabitants.
- One of the most mountainous regions in the world that is rich with mines of gold, emerald and strategically important minerals, and known for its extraordinary scenic beauty, diversity and ancient communities and languages, Gilgit-Baltistan is largely an underdeveloped region.
- It is home to K-2, the second tallest mountain in the world.
- Tourism remains restricted by many factors, including military hostility, though the region has some of the ancient Buddhist sculptures and rock edicts.
- It is also home to an old Shia community, which often finds itself subjected to persecution in Pakistan’s urban centres.
- The water-rich region’s biggest hydroelectricity project is the Diamer-Bhasha dam, which was launched in July 2020.
News Source: TH