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‘Pakistan to elevate Gilgit-Baltistan to full-fledged province with all constitutional rights’

  • Category
    India & world
  • Published
    8th Oct, 2020

Pakistan has decided to elevate Gilgit-Baltistan’s status to that of a full-fledged province.

Context

Pakistan has decided to elevate Gilgit-Baltistan’s status to that of a full-fledged province.

About

  • The region was part of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and is claimed by India.
  • Gilgit-Baltistan is located between Karakoram and Himalayas world’s highest mountains. It’s home to K-2, the second tallest mountain in the world. 
  • During the first Indo-Pak war of October 1947, Pakistan occupied 78,114 sq km of the land of Jammu and Kashmir, including the ‘Northern Areas’.
    • The Northern Areas is the other name of Gilgit-Baltistan that Pakistan has used for administrative reasons because it was a disputed territory.

Governance of the Region

  • The political nature of Gilgit-Baltistan has been directionless from the beginning.
  • Pakistan initially governed the region directly from the central authority after it was separated from ‘Azad Jammu and Kashmir’ on April 28, 1949.
  • In 1963, Pakistan gave away 5,180 sq km of the region to China, despite local protests.
  • Pakistan passed the Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self Governance Order in 2009, which granted “self-rule” to the ‘Northern Areas’.
  • Pakistan signed an agreement with China for mega infrastructure and hydel power projects in September 2009.
  • In 2019, a seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan took up the constitutional status of Gilgit-Baltistan.
  • Over the years, the region has acquired a government and a council, which gave it a de facto status of a province of Pakistan, but the constitutional status of the region remained vague without explicit statehood.

What’s India’s take on the issue?

  • 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 has said the Government of Pakistan or its judiciary has no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it.
  • India completely rejects such actions and continued attempts to bring material changes in Pakistan occupied areas of the Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Instead, Pakistan should immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation.
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