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Pakistan mulls elevating status of Gilgit-Baltistan on Chinese insistence

Updated Jan 08, 2016 07:41am

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China cannot afford to invest on a road that passes through a disputed territory claimed both by India and Pakistan. —AFP/File
China cannot afford to invest on a road that passes through a disputed territory claimed both by India and Pakistan. —AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is mulling to elevate the constitutional status of northern Gilgit-Baltistan region in a bid to provide legal cover to the multi-billion-dollar Chinese investment plan, officials said on Thursday.

The move could signal a historic shift in the country's position on the future of the wider Kashmir region, observers have said.

The proposal would see the mountainous region mentioned by name for the first time in the country's Constitution, bringing it one step closer to being fully absorbed as an additional province.

Islamabad has historically insisted the parts of Kashmir it controls are semi-autonomous and has not formally integrated them into the country, in line with its position that a referendum should be carried out across the whole of the region.

Sajjad-ul-Haq, spokesman for the chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan Hafiz Hafeez ur Rehman, told AFP: "A high level committee formed by the prime minister is working on the issue, you will hear good news soon."

Know more: ‘Almost’ Pakistan: Gilgit-Baltistan in a constitutional limbo

Rehman, who arrived in Islamabad on Thursday, was working on the finishing touches to the agreement, a senior official said, adding the document could be unveiled "in a few days".

In addition to being named in the Constitution, Gilgit-Baltistan would also send two lawmakers to sit in the federal parliament — though they would be given observer status only.

A third top government official from Gilgit-Baltistan said the move was in response to concerns raised by Beijing about the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, the $46 billion infrastructure plan set to link China's western city of Kashgar to the Pakistani port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea.

"China cannot afford to invest billions of dollars on a road that passes through a disputed territory claimed both by India and Pakistan," the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.

The corridor plans have been strongly criticised by New Delhi, with India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj in June calling the project "unacceptable" for crossing through Indian-claimed territory.

India and Pakistan have fought two full-scale wars over Kashmir, and any changes to the status quo could prove a further setback to hopes for dialogue that were revived after Modi made the historic Lahore visit.

Those efforts were already seen as fragile following a deadly attack on an Indian air base near the Pakistan border Saturday that was followed by a 25-hour siege on an Indian consulate in Afghanistan on Monday.

But according to Pakistani strategic analyst Ayesha Siddiqa, the move could also signal Islamabad's desire to end the Kashmir conflict by formally absorbing the territory it controls — and, by extension, recognising New Delhi's claims to parts of the region it controls, such as the Kashmir valley.

"If we begin to absorb it so can India. It legitimises their absorption of the Valley," she said.

Also read: AJK opposes giving provincial status to GB

History

GB’s modern history can be traced back to the 19th century. In 1846, after many wars and much bloodshed, GB was incorporated in the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir by the Dogras. GB comprised several independent princely states, and all of them now started paying revenue and taxes to the Dogra Raj. The Dogras had an army for the region too, called the Gilgit Scouts.

The Dogra Raj continued for a century, but 1947 spelled upheaval in South Asia and GB was not spared either. With two sovereign states being carved out of united India, GB found itself neither part of India nor part of Pakistan. Even though the Dogras still maintained control over GB after August 1947, their influence was on the wane.

The Dogras were dealt a final blow when a local commander of the Gilgit Scouts, a man named Colonel Mirza Hassan Khan, led a successful rebellion against the Dogra Raj. A government was formed thereafter, for the new Republic of Gilgit, whose president was Shah Raees Khan. Colonel Khan meanwhile became the chief of the Gilgit Scouts.

The new republic could only maintain itself for 16 days. Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the leader of Pakistan, was then approached and requested permission for Gilgit to join the Pakistan federation. This was an unconditional offer, which was duly accepted by Jinnah.

Ever since its accession to Pakistan, Gilgit’s fortunes became intertwined with those of Kashmir.

Editorial: Gilgit-Baltistan alienation

As the matter of Kashmir went to the United Nations in 1948 for resolution, so did the matter of Gilgit.

It was claimed by Pakistani authorities at the time that Gilgit, like Kashmir, was a disputed territory. Since both India and Pakistan were asking for a UN-conducted plebiscite in disputed areas, their calculation was that Gilgit’s people would vote in support of Pakistan and thus, swell the vote in favour of Pakistan. In one move, therefore, Kashmir and Gilgit would officially be part of Pakistan.

The UN advised both India and Pakistan to remove their armies from all disputed territories, so that a UN-supervised referendum could take place. Neither country was prepared to let go of territories under their control, and the matter went into cold storage.

Related: Legislators demand GB as province of Pakistan

In 1988, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto made changes to the laws governing the Northern Areas. A new body, called the Northern Areas Council, was duly formed. In her second tenure, Benazir introduced the Legal Framework Order (LFO)-1994, which turned the Northern Areas Council into the Northern Areas Legislative Council. The leader of the house of this body was the deputy chief executive, while the minister of Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas served as chief executive.

The most significant change made by Gen Musharraf was granting the Northern Areas Legislative Assembly the right to amend the LFO but the PPP government that came after the General unveiled a reforms package on September 8, 2009.

The then Prime Minister Gilani did away with the term “Northern Areas” and replaced it with “Gilgit-Baltistan”, a long-standing demand of the people of the area.

Related: GB package termed `compromise on Kashmir`

Under the new law, the chief executive was now the chief minister, while there was also provision for a federally-appointed governor. Advisors in the legislative assembly were now ministers.

The GB Council was now comprised 15 members, six of whom were elected from the GB Legislative Assembly while the rest were elected members from Pakistani assemblies. The prime minister was the council chairman, while the minister of Kashmir Affairs was the deputy chairman. Meetings of this body were to be mostly held in Islamabad.

The GB Council was to serve as the upper house of parliament; legislation pertaining to tourism, minerals, forests, as well as water and power all rested with the Council.

In unveiling the new laws, PM Gilani had used the word “autonomy” for GB, but in truth, GB is still a disputed territory.

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Comments (165) Closed



Karachitee Jan 07, 2016 06:24pm

Now Kashmir issue will be resolved for good.

Larka Jan 07, 2016 06:27pm

Good for GB.

Tariq Amir Jan 07, 2016 06:30pm

Gilgit Baltistan and FATA both should be given the status of a province. With representation in national assembly, proportional to their populations. In case of FATA, I feel this area should be incorporated in Kyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Saad Jan 07, 2016 06:30pm

Lets do it, control the territories we control and move on.

Darashikoh Jan 07, 2016 06:31pm

It's a catch 22. Until the development can't start there's no hope for anything.

Sarai Alamgir Jan 07, 2016 06:31pm

For all of us, GB has always been a part of Pakistan and seen as a province.

RK Jan 07, 2016 06:32pm

Thank God Chinese, there is only one solution to Kashmir. Accept the status quo and move on with your lives.

pakiboy Jan 07, 2016 06:32pm

What a great way to go.

Logic Jan 07, 2016 06:35pm

Good for both countries now. Each have their own. Kashmir issue sorted out for good.

Best of Luck.

Sacha hindu Jan 07, 2016 06:35pm

Good for both nation.

Rex Minor Jan 07, 2016 06:37pm

Yes, I support this move.

KN Jan 07, 2016 06:39pm

Very good.

Inqelab Zindabad Jan 07, 2016 06:42pm

This is it guys, lets end this please..

Bharat Jan 07, 2016 06:43pm

Good Idea, you keep what you have and we keep what we have, problem gone.

Uzair Khan Jan 07, 2016 06:44pm

i guess there are other options available to get around the law. But still gilgit was a part of greater kashmir. Gilgit has always been a separate state.

Kpk Jan 07, 2016 06:45pm

Bang on!! Let's do it.

Aman Jan 07, 2016 06:45pm

Great! finally Kashmir issue resolved.....!!
Both India and Pakistan heading toward being Asian Lion and Tiger respectively..

Pankaj Jan 07, 2016 06:45pm

How many flip-flops Pakistan government will do on Kashmir? First UN resolution, then Shimla agreement, then Lahore agreement, now this. Anyway.... if this issue can be solved this way then we must thank China. Which both countries were not able to achieve in 68 years China made it happened in few months.

Ijaz Jan 07, 2016 06:47pm

It is the wrong thing to do and Pakistan should resist it at ALL COSTS. Are we real prepared to trade our historic commitment to the people of Jammu and Kashmir for an expensive Chinese project.

Changing the status of GB means abandoning our historic demand for Kashmiri self determination through a plebiscite. Wake up and think.

Sadiq Ali Bohra Jan 07, 2016 06:49pm

I think we should go for it and move on. To make it more concrete and ever-resolving, a referendum should be help by a neutral organization amongst the whole population of India and Pakistan to accept the solution once and for all. We dont want any group/party/sect etc to come out later opposing and and creating a situation where it looks disputed still. Once thats done, its done! after that we just need, friendship, brotherhood, trade, open borders, sports, and everything very very smooth. thats all.

Raees Ahmed Shaikh Jan 07, 2016 06:50pm

@Mam, Aisha Siddiqa, don't get confuse, worried or critic. Do not mix 'Kashmir (Indian-Srinagar or Pakistan-Muzaffarabad Part) with Gigit, Baltistan & Ladakh ... India had already declared 'Ladakh as Himalya National Council, different from Kashmir Province. The same, Pakistan has declared 'Gilgit and Baltistan as Pakistan's (Gilgit/Baltistan Assembly Territory in '1974 & then in '2011 ~ Where as Indian/Pakistan Kashmir, as I mentioned above will still be 'Disputed Territory ! Long term demand of elders of Gilgit & Baltistan to declare as integral part and province of Pakistan since '1948 ! So let it happen, let India take Ladakh as her province ~ Things are a bit settling down by virtue of Sino/Pak corridor ~ Kashmir Issue will also be resolved in due course of time !

kumar Jan 07, 2016 06:52pm

Has Pakistan by itself solved the Kashmir dispute?

Ghaznavi Jan 07, 2016 06:54pm

@Bharat "Good Idea, you keep what you have and we keep what we have, problem gone." Great idea for those who perceive Kashmir as a booty. This just shows how sincere both India and Pakistan are with the Kashmiris. Your great idea sounds more like solving the child custody case by cutting the child in two and dividing the body. This will never solve anything. Kashmiris "the only party in this dispute" will never accept it. Problem stays!!!!

Mudassir Jan 07, 2016 06:58pm

If this plan materializes, Pakistan should effectively wave goodbye to India-held Kashmir bcz it'll legitimize their claim on it

Naxalite Jan 07, 2016 06:58pm

Great Move. Go Raheel!

TechnoKraft Jan 07, 2016 07:04pm

What nonsense, GB are NOT part of Kashmir. The Kashmir area under Pak control is very small compared to what is under Indian control. 2ndly Gilgit AND Baltistan should both be TWO separate provinces, with Chitral area being the 3rd province.

XoF Jan 07, 2016 07:05pm

This region was already Pakistan in hearts of the regional people. Rest Kashmir will also be free soon

Bairooni Haath Jan 07, 2016 07:06pm

Make LOC border and get on with life!

ukumar Jan 07, 2016 07:08pm

@Ijaz We can not live in past. We have to move with time.

M.Saeed Jan 07, 2016 07:12pm

The best option would be, to go back to the One Unit dispensation.. It would provided much needed unity of purpose in dispensation of governance, with absolute merits in consideration. Local Governments could be provided better links with the Federal to remove all provincial barriers to genuine progress and vast avenues of mega-corruption.

Naveed Jan 07, 2016 07:12pm

Gilgit and Baltistan are Pakistani territory contrary to Indian claims, the government should grant it provincial status and proceed with CPEC without delay.

iqbal Jan 07, 2016 07:13pm

Makes best sense. This will be a good step in resolving the dispute with India. Let us agree on LOC as international border in Kashmir so both countries can work on their economies

ayush Jan 07, 2016 07:27pm

finally some sense prevailing .this is exactly what India has been saying .this will make loc defacto international border .good for peace in region

Avatar Jan 07, 2016 07:30pm

Lets settle Kashmir issue this way, you take yours and I keep mine.....and lets move ahead....our future generations should live in Harmony ...PLEASE

Deepak Jan 07, 2016 07:31pm

If that happens that will be end of conflict. Since the resolution, however redundant as it may be, ask for the plebiscite in the state of erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.... And it will legalize the absorbing of the Indian part in Indian territory..

vijay Jan 07, 2016 07:33pm

Why all this mind games, both India and Pakistan know that they cannot get the other's part of Kashmir without losing their own country.

Best solution is, each country keep their part of kashmir and keep the border soft so that the Kashmiris on both sides can criss-cross.

Sami Jan 07, 2016 07:36pm

About time both nations move on. No realist actually believes anything else is possible.

Ponnuvel Madheswaran Jan 07, 2016 07:39pm

@pakiboy Yes this is the reality

ayub Jan 07, 2016 07:39pm

It would be a good step toward a peaceful resolution of the core issue between the two neighbouring countries and would usher a new era of peace, progress and development in the region.

Aman Jan 07, 2016 07:41pm

@Ghaznavi ...so shall we keep bleeding each other for generations ???

N_Saq Jan 07, 2016 07:45pm

If this was the solution then why was it not implemented earlier? This could have saved a lot of headaches and unnecessary wars. Anyway, like they said "Deir Aahay Doorust Aahay".

Yes, there is no need to dwell in the past. Ind and Pak can not afford to be enemies anymore. There is so much already lost and they can not afford to lose anything anymore. Lot of people have misused these countries for their own benefit. It is time to wake up, bury the hatchet, hug each other and move on. It is the 21st century, let's shun the nay Sayers, make a difference by joining heads and hearts together and work for the better future...

haris Jan 07, 2016 07:46pm

Good for Pakistan and India but may not be good for Kashmiris of either sides.

Sikandar Ali Jan 07, 2016 07:47pm

People of Gilgit-Baltistan have suffered a lot. There is extreme poverty and lack of infrastructural development because of the absence of a proper government for many decades. This is time that Pakistan accept the people's will to be part of Pakistan constitutionally. However this should not be on the cost of the Kashmir whose people also want their self-determination. Here comes Pakistan should try to solve the Kashmir problem in a diplomatic way. Thanks advance congrats GBians for getting some sort of right at least.

Sajjad Ur Rehman Jan 07, 2016 07:50pm

Side effects of Economic Corridor!

Ghaznavi Jan 07, 2016 08:00pm

@Aman "so shall we keep bleeding each other for generations ???" Unless we give up on our greed , I am afraid we will keep bleeding each other. Let Kashmir free!!! The benefits of free Kashmir will be far reaching and will out weight the loss of territory for both India and Pakistan. Kashmir is linked to both these countries and it will remain engaged with both regions.

pankaj Jan 07, 2016 08:03pm

@Raees Ahmed Shaikh you r wrong.Laddakh is still part of J&K..with a council under J&K government...

Teeli Pehlwan Jan 07, 2016 08:07pm

This marks the historic death of of the greatest time waster in modern history i.e. the Kashmir issue. Felicitations to all countrymen.

pankaj Jan 07, 2016 08:09pm

@N_Saq I appreciate your practical wisdom.. But can both India and Pakistan agree or will the Arms bussiness Brigades let it happen? If we two agree..South Asia will become better than EU

Waqas Jan 07, 2016 08:09pm

Excellent Idea! Make it Pakistan's Province

Mehtab Jan 07, 2016 08:10pm

Pakistan should have given rights 67 years ago. This has happened because of economic corridor on Chinese demand. Rights violation over half a century. The turmoil in our country is because of injustices perpetrated by our ruling elite. No justice no peace, its a law of nature.

Saeed Masood Jan 07, 2016 08:10pm

What is sincerely good for Pakistan...should be done that's it Period... Pakistan comes first...

Pro Pakistan Jan 07, 2016 08:23pm

I wonder what was making Pakistan hesitant towards taking the legislative step

noor Jan 07, 2016 08:26pm

@Ijaz do you know how many hungry, naked and sick people in india and pakistan living below poverty line, who need hospitals, jobs and food to eat, cloths to wear. many of them never heard the name Kashmir and they are least bothered. This silk project via gwadar and than via Afganistan....it will give Indians, Pakistanis ,Chinese and Afgans jobs and food. if You still want to abuse Nawaz and Modi....Please go ahead. and if INdia and Pakistan become prosperous Kashimiris will also benifit from it. if You still feel that its bad Idia...ask so Many pakistanis and indians living in USA to come back in their respective countries...No One will come back....Please understand the realities of life

Janbaz Jan 07, 2016 08:28pm

India has piled up a heap of problems for itself due to shortsightedness in haste. Now time is showing India the number of trains it has missed.

Ismail Jan 07, 2016 08:29pm

Case of gilgit should not be dealt in isolation as it will weaken our stance on khashmir issue

noor Jan 07, 2016 08:32pm

@Sadiq Ali Bohra God bless You. we cant carry this Kashmir Issue for ever and gift our generations....The Relationship between India and Pakistan..if becomes like friends....you will never realize when Pakistan ends and where India starts....lets make borders irrelevant by friendship so Kashmiris also never feel...where is Indian Kashmir or Pakistani Kashmir...lets work for prosperity and development of this subcontinent .

Gurpreet Singh Sabharwal (USA) Jan 07, 2016 08:34pm

@Raees Ahmed Shaikh : It seems, you have not read the article properly. GB is not a region independent of the whole of Jammu & Kashmir. The disputed J&K as it existed in 1947 during the time of partition consisted of what is today Jammu, Kashmir & Laddakh on the Indian side and what is today AJK & GB on the Pakistani side.

noor Jan 07, 2016 08:34pm

Trust me if India and Pakistan come closer, there would be no better relationship in world other than these two....and as an Responsible Indian I assure that we will not do injustice with Kashmir issue also ...it will be well resolved with time passes

Gurpreet Singh Sabharwal (USA) Jan 07, 2016 08:35pm

Great, the Chinese may have finally done what India, Pakistan & other world powers couldn't do - Solve Kashmir

Adnan Anwar Jan 07, 2016 08:38pm

This area was never part of kashmir in the first place , don't know why it keeps getting linked. Anyway, it is good that it is getting its recognition.

Khan- Pakistani Jan 07, 2016 08:39pm

We need Kashmir and will continue our struggle for the liberation of Kashmir from Indian occupation !

qwekids Jan 07, 2016 08:40pm

The UN advised both India and Pakistan to remove their armies from all disputed territories, so that a UN-supervised referendum could take place. Neither country was prepared to let go of territories under their control, and the matter went into cold storage

noor Jan 07, 2016 08:42pm

@ayush India is not saying so....where did you got this news....do your homework before. Mr Farukh abdulla advised this. it will take big heart and Big Statesmans like Modi and Nawaz to accept this

Aib Jan 07, 2016 08:42pm

Nice move to make LOC to international border

Muhammad Arshad Jan 07, 2016 08:49pm

Great News

Thunder Jan 07, 2016 08:52pm

The only other route that would not pass thru the disputed area is the chitral-Dir route. Chitral-Dir route would pass entirely thru undisputed area. There is a 5 miles tunnel built between Dir and chiral. The most feasible route.

N_Saq Jan 07, 2016 08:53pm

@pankaj My friend, there is always hope. Hope is the reason for the existence of mankind without hope life will be meaningless.

We should always do good in order to achieve greater good as there is a lot of evil in this world. Good is what will make us rise above all so whenever we see something good in this world we should encourage it and not discourage it.

I will borrow some quotes from Gandhiji here:

-I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent. -Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man. -First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. -You must be the change you wish to see in the world. -Where there is love there is life.

Ashfaq Jan 07, 2016 08:54pm

What an irony, since 1948 2 million people have been kept without basic political rights by virtue of Kashmir DISPUTE. Now all of a sudden the CPEC makes all think the way that the GB people always did .Struggle for the constitutional rights though continued throughout but BUREAUCRACY and ESTABLISHMENT didn't bother to address this issue for last 67 years. Claiming resources while denial of political rights lingered on till this point where not as a choice but to cater to the Chinese demands for legal cover, Federation of Pakistan now considering giving long demanded constitutional rights and declaring this area as constitutional part of Pakistan. May it happen now, before its too late.

Aftab Jan 07, 2016 08:56pm

Good Move. The Kashmire we held is ours.

awais Jan 07, 2016 09:03pm

Kashmiri brothers have made so much sacrifices for the right of their self determination. How can we ignore them. Kashmir issue should be resolved only according to their own wishes. Its not a matter of business!!!

Sajad Jan 07, 2016 09:11pm

U r no one to decide it . We Kashmiri have to decide

UFO Jan 07, 2016 09:11pm

GB is part of Pakistan and should be made a province immediately. That does not preclude our claim on Indian occupied Kashmir. Aisha Sadiqa is wrong!

Guest66 Jan 07, 2016 09:16pm

Good News , what the 60+ years war mongering did not help solve the issue , Eventually will be solved when Billions of Dollars infrastructure buildup and trillions of dollars of after the Facts business volumes Will be at stake . Initially the area mentioned with name within the Pakistani constitution ( as reported ) will help melt the rigid ice within Pakistani thinking and eventually the Line of Control between the two Kashmir , Will be declared international border and both India (who have been asking for this status for decades now ) and Pakistan Will announce it at a later stage . Good for both the nations , None can win the territory by war and there is no stomach on either side to fight on . Both will eventually come to senses and start living like Good neighbours

Sajad Jan 07, 2016 09:17pm

@Sadiq Ali Bohra What Kashmiris ? We don't need u decide our future . Pak/India

Shah Jan 07, 2016 09:21pm

Kashmir belongs to the people of Kashmir. India and Pakistan has no right to decide the future of people of Kashmir. Let the people of Kashmir decide about their future through plebiscite. By the way this Karakoram Highway (KKH) ALREADY runs from Kashgar in Western China to Islamabad in Pakistan. So why the CONCERNS NOW?

Janbaz Jan 07, 2016 09:22pm

@Sajad ....Don't start working on your brilliant idea of making Kashmir a land locked replica like Nepal and Bhutan etc. Gilgit and Baltistan were never a part of Kashmir state.

Atam Vetta Jan 07, 2016 09:28pm

If the statement about the Chinese view on the CPEC passing through GB is correct then it shows that President Xi has taken a serious note of Mrs Swaraj's (India's FM) objection to CPEC passing through a disputed area of J&K. Indeed, at that time Media reported China's response to Mrs Swaraj as; Let us discuss it. This was also obvious from the Ufa joint declaration of Sharif & Modi which, I believe was drafted by Xi. The discussion has started now. I have said a few times before, that Xi and NOT Obama, is the moving spirit in Pak & India relations. There is NO danger of GB becoming a part of India. It will remain a part of Pak. Xi's intervention will result in Pak granting unhindered access to India on the CPEC and reap $millions in transit fees. Odd that a Chinese leader is likely to achieve that foolish leaders of these 2 countries have failed to achieve.

Malik Achakzai Jan 07, 2016 09:31pm

Means several more hurdles in the way to CPEC?

dr shehzad Jan 07, 2016 09:32pm

FATA should be given the status of province bt it should not be considered for GB because it could harm Kashmir cause for Pakistan and will make Pakistan lose the expected referendum in Kashmir as a whole.

Keti Zilgish Jan 07, 2016 09:34pm

Not only can both India and Pakistan not afford to be each others' enemies but neither can afford to be their own enemies because both have countless administrative, class and environmental problems crying to be solved. I'm glad the Chinese have finally managed to harness some sense. Not only should the present LOC be recognized by all legislatures concerned as the permanent border but also movement across these borders should be both tax free and visa free and everybody will suddenly become too busy to commit any crimes and those few who are degenerate enough to still persist could more easily be identified and dealt with accordingly.

sidney Jan 07, 2016 09:40pm

Finally, sanity prevails! If for no other reason,development and economics will dictate the politics of the region! CPEC will be a huge game changer and the dispute on Kashmir will be a spoiler if the two countries do not accept the status quo and each side absorbs Kashmir into the core. This will mean that the trace corridor will run through Kashmir, not any longer in dispute and hence the investment will not be in vain. Modi and Sharif must seize this opportunity and move into the twentyfirst century

rich Jan 07, 2016 09:56pm

Yasser malik and co out of business

atlast Pakistan is speaking sense and indian should not let them down

u keep ur we keep our and now lets do business and play some cricket

and guys make visa easy I want to visit Lahore and eat at the food street there,

Farhan Jan 07, 2016 10:10pm

Why our NSA, Army and Politicians didn't thought of this obstacle before stepping into CPEC? Nobody knows how successful CPEC would be BUT the compromise on stated position of GB and Kashmir is a biggest defeat to the nation.

Kailash Jan 07, 2016 10:22pm

"the move could also signal Islamabad's desire to end the Kashmir conflict by formally absorbing the territory it controls — and, by extension, recognising New Delhi's claims to parts of the region it controls, such as the Kashmir valley."

Weren't we demanding the same thing? Common sense should have been used long back.

sulmanparsi Jan 07, 2016 10:23pm

In my opinion the proposal is in the best interest of GB, India, China and Pakistan equally. Every body in the street I met support it.

Shahid Malik Jan 07, 2016 10:24pm

@Bharat "Good Idea, you keep what you have and we keep what we have, problem gone."

Of course GB will stay with Pakistan, it is 100% muslim. But we also want Kashmir valley which is over 90% muslim. Once we get the valley we will call Kashmir problem solved. You can keep Jammu and Laddakh.

Eskay Jan 07, 2016 10:29pm

In politics, divide and rule policy has frequently been used to maintain power and influence by breaking up provinces, states, teritorries and countries into pieces. After the British, it looks like that the Chinese have taken over their job in implementing this old concept.

Baltistani Jan 07, 2016 10:46pm

GB is the only unique region of the world who got independence on her own and on a good faith decided to be with Pakistan. GB has no concern with Kashmir. The one who claim GB as a part of Kashmir should respond to a very simple question that if we were a part of Kashmir then where is our representation in the Kashmir legislative assembly?

We Are One Jan 07, 2016 10:49pm

Most important for all of us are peace and prosperity. Fighting with each other, killing each other will never bring solution to this problem. Territorial disputes are completely nonsense, they divide people. India and Pakistan need to make the places more accessible for people, trade, development and progress. Let political problems not destroy lives in both the countries. We need life, not death. Let next generation see the peace and prosperity.

Umair Khalid Jan 07, 2016 11:42pm

Amazing! Now I can finally buy some land in Gilgit and move there :)

Parag Jan 07, 2016 11:51pm

Best Solution You keep what you have and we keep what we have and we both India and Pakistan bring good welfare and happiness to our Kashmiri brothers.

Shahryar Amirzadah Jan 08, 2016 12:03am

One thing should be clear GB and Kashmir are two different territories.It was made part of independent Pakistan if someone has goofed up at some stage that was bad .

Cyrus Jan 08, 2016 12:14am

If China is insisting ??? What will Pakistan do?

Cyrus Jan 08, 2016 12:25am

@Atam Vetta .... What's odd? The Chinese don't hate anyone except the Japanese. They don't hate anyone because of religion. They are not handicapped in dealing with any nation.

Khan Jan 08, 2016 12:42am

It should have been decided much earlier

Rehman Jan 08, 2016 12:44am

this is not going to happen... china cant dare to invest that much in disputed area.... now this is called dead lock..

Cyrus Jan 08, 2016 01:06am

@Mudassir ..... Without economic development the poor in South Asia are going to starve to death anyway.

Faisal Jan 08, 2016 01:14am

Should absorb Azad Kashmir as well. Its a fairly small piece if you take out GB.

Arslan Jan 08, 2016 01:16am

It is ridiculous to assume GB being part of some " greater " Kashmir as it was not under the rule of Kashmiri Raj during separation.

Khwarezmi Jan 08, 2016 01:40am

GB and Azad Kashmir is an integral oart of Pakistan. Just better to give it statehood within the Pakistan Federation.

A Shah Jan 08, 2016 01:41am

India keep its Kashmir and Pakistan keep its part. Both nations join hands and become the power they once were!

kuka Jan 08, 2016 01:45am

GB is already part of Pakistan. Why are chinese insisting on it? Change the route of CPEC via Chitral through Afghanistan and Tajekistan and everything would be fine.

far Jan 08, 2016 01:49am

Making GB a separate province will cause automatic inclusion of Kashmir in India. This is like hacking one's own foot with an axe. Kashmiris are our brothers and we must not make leave them alone in their demand of sovereign state.

Gurpreet Singh Sabharwal (USA) Jan 08, 2016 01:56am

The total population of the whole of Jammu & Kashmir (both India & Pakistan) is about 1% of the total population of the rest of India & Pakistan. Its about time we start thinking about the other 99% of our people by making the current LoC a permanent border and resolving this long festering issue. Once Kashmir becomes a non issue, I’m sure India Pakistan relations will flourish and the whole border between the two countries (not just along Kashmir) can be made irrelevant. Its time to give up enmity & become friends for the sake of our current & future generations.

Gurpreet Singh Sabharwal (USA) Jan 08, 2016 02:00am

@Baltistani : You may or may not have anything to do with Kashmir, that is irrelevant. The relevant matter is that the territory of Gilgit Baltistan was a part of the original Jammu & Kashmir during partition and all of it is disputed. You can't conveniently say that only Indian areas of the original J&K are disputed & the Pakistani areas are not.

Riazullah Baig Jan 08, 2016 02:05am

Only two "observers" from GB will represent about two million souls in the parliament to give that CPEC a constitutional and legal cover to the Chinese economic and political designs, and even this development soon after after China fingers Pakistan establishment. Otherwise, GBP was treated like a colony for over sixty five years. We need to refresh our memories that India reserved seats for GB and IHK in its lower and upper houses of legislation and in IHK legislative assembly in early fifties. In contrary to all this, Pakistani babos, for lack of their political acumen or power lust, deprived these areas of all such constitutional and legal rights in the name of having a Pakistan favoring plebiscite in case it happens God knows when! Pakistan lost its claim to these areas on the when it started this ambiguous policy as compared to India, which granted some constitutional and legal rights to IHK and GB even on papers only.

Salma Shahid Jan 08, 2016 02:33am

In the past India has shown interest in giving some of the occupied Kashmir to Pakistan and make a settlement on borders but we refused. Then why would Pakistan settle on LOC now? And if so happens what does Pakistan get in return? Would they make a new water pact, will India leave Siachen and Sir Creek in Pakistan's favor? Will they allow Kashmiris to travel across without visa? A lot of questions. And yes will Kashmiris accept such settlement?

beinghuman@usa.com Jan 08, 2016 02:46am

@noor It will be great if borders between India & Pakistan (Not just in Kashmir but also in Punjab & Rajasthan) become like borders between USA & Canada it will significantly benefit people of both countries. I wish it happens in our lifetime.

Niazi Jan 08, 2016 02:51am

China 's. All 46 billion will not be spent on that a small portion of the road.
Forget about it and protect national interest

Jawad Jan 08, 2016 03:01am

India made j&k their state while Pakistan gave azad kashmir and gilgit baltistan a separate status.

sylmar Jan 08, 2016 03:28am

@Parag you can not occupy kashmir and say this is solution. your occupation is our battle?

keep on fighting this battle? we are not letting you win this ever.

M Waj Jan 08, 2016 04:08am

What about the rights of Kashmiri people?

SUNIL Jan 08, 2016 05:10am

@Ijaz

Your logic takes down CPEC

Omar Jan 08, 2016 05:33am

The people of GB and even FATA for that matter have worked hard to be a part of the country and should be granted for full rights and civil liberties as Pakistanis. Making them a part of the country formally will not change anything vis-a-vis Kashmir. Why should they suffer because india has hijacked the Kashmir issue. Let those that are free at least enjoy the benefits of freedom.

Mobin Ahmed Jan 08, 2016 06:01am

Finally Kashmir issue will be solved. South Asia will have peace. Money spent on buying arms can be used for poor. Let's go for development not for war or proxy. Live and let live.

Mobin Ahmed Jan 08, 2016 06:11am

@Keti Zilgish It's not Europe which is one religion, culture and mentality. Sub continent here is divided badly, religion, race, language, culture, mentality and regional. Never dream about it. It can happen only if it's one religion.

Mobin Ahmed Jan 08, 2016 06:17am

@awais Our people need a decent and respectful life. Billing of dollars lost in this. We could have become a developed country but one piece of land ruined whole thing. We can't be poor and fight all our lives for Kashmir. Can we?

razi Jan 08, 2016 06:24am

Good step!!

Surinder Kade Jan 08, 2016 06:32am

First step towards resolving J&K problem.

John Cool Jan 08, 2016 06:50am

@noor @Ijaz do you know how many hungry, naked and sick people in india and pakistan living below poverty line, who need hospitals, jobs and food to eat, cloths to wear. many of them never heard the name Kashmir and they are least bothered. This silk project via gwadar and than via Afganistan....it will give Indians, Pakistanis ,Chinese and Afgans jobs and food. if You still want to abuse Nawaz and Modi....Please go ahead. and if INdia and Pakistan become prosperous Kashimiris will also benifit from it. if You still feel that its bad Idia...ask so Many pakistanis and indians living in USA to come back in their respective countries...No One will come back....Please understand the realities of life

A platinum comment.

Sami Shahid Jan 08, 2016 06:54am

I think its a good step

Matin Jan 08, 2016 07:34am

I agree we should become a part of China.

Dave Jan 08, 2016 07:36am

China is trying to weasel out. Their economy has been hit and they are trying to find excuses. Dont tell me that when the planning phase was on they could not read the map.

Malish khan Jan 08, 2016 08:02am

Changing the status-quo will be affirmation of line of control in to permanent border.

excalibur Jan 08, 2016 08:13am

Pakistan's principled position on Kashmir Dispute should not be compromised at any cost Chinese or Japaneses

s.khan Jan 08, 2016 08:28am

Balti and Kashmiri are two different people and regions , please dont mix them up. thanks

Desi Dimag Jan 08, 2016 08:35am

@Matin Do you know how china treats Muslims?

Matin Jan 08, 2016 08:48am

Doesn't matter it is our all-weather friend. We can forego anything for China.

niju Jan 08, 2016 09:31am

Pakistan keep what it have and India keep what it have and give kashmiris special status with open borders.......the border of Kashmir should be open between both countries. do that kashmiris can enjoy best of both the nations

nobody Jan 08, 2016 09:44am

will anyone would ask Kashmiri people what they want. According to UN its a disputed area. How can reject right of self determination. People in Kashmir are fighting for long time and many of their are killed. lets ask them..

Bulbul Jan 08, 2016 10:07am

First of all Gilgit Baltistan is not a part of Kashmir. Its totally a different region with different language, culture and ethnicity. Secondly, if you still believe that it is part of Kashmir, then lets do a referendum to get the clear picture. Who are we to decide that GB is a part of this and that? People often say let Kashmiris decide about their future whether to annex with Pakistan or India. Then why don't you apply the same formula to GB.

Bulbul Jan 08, 2016 10:14am

GBians love for Pakistan is genuine and unconditional as it was when it annexed with Pakistan unconditionally. But this is heart wrenching for GBians that they are still lacking the constitutional rights.

Sasha Jan 08, 2016 10:31am

I am waiting for the response from GB citizens. They are the ones who are suffered and scarified and yet they are patriotic. Pakistan is fighting to save Kashmir who wants self determinations while, its ignoring GB who citizens are the most patriotic and have been always shed their blood on the frontiers of Pakistan.

ss Jan 08, 2016 10:49am

Great news. This should have been done decades ago. This is the only possible solution to the Kashmir problem.

Darvin Jan 08, 2016 10:59am

I am an Indian and I feel it's a good move. People on both side of border have full rights to get taste of development. It can be a permanent fix for Kashmir issue. Both side absorb their controlled part and convert LOC to International border. Everyone got fad up with this issue and it should be close for good

Mubarik Jan 08, 2016 11:36am

Thats very strange of China. If they can make KKH in same area then why not CPEC? and if they are sincere to resolve disputed areas between India and Pakistan then they must resolve their Aksai Chin and Tibet control areas with India first...

Kris Jan 08, 2016 11:38am

Let's declare the LoC as international border and be done with it. After that both Pak and India can finish off all extremists and stop all cross border bickering. Instead, lets focus on trade and economy.

Kris Jan 08, 2016 11:41am

Let's declare LoC as International border and Pak should withdraw the outdated plebiscite call from the UN . Issue solved once for all. Peace will reign.

Ahmed Jan 08, 2016 11:45am

I think Kashmir issue will be dead. in a way good

Gilgit Baltistan Jan 08, 2016 12:21pm

We are proud nation , we proud to be part of Pakistan . but we request from Pakistan that GB should be given Province Status which is not yet done since 1 Nov 1947 after GB independence

splash Jan 08, 2016 12:24pm

This is best solution to make loc as international border. wish this comes to be true.This region ll replace Europe in prosperity. After that people of both sides can go to each others place like people of Europe move between London and Paris. otherwise we ll keep fighting till both get finished by nuclear bombs.

A citizen. Jan 08, 2016 12:29pm

What Pakistan and India did not or could not resolve in 68 years the Chinese have done in a few months. That is why we are what we are.

Khwarezmi Jan 08, 2016 12:40pm

GBs population is Muslim and want representation within the Pakistani Federation. They have provided personell to the Pakistan Army and have bled for their independance from India, same with Azad Kashmir. Jammu & Kashmir is a religious issue between Pakistan and India and the Muslim majority of Indian Occupied Kashmir would vote for Pakistan in any referendum.

Talha Jan 08, 2016 12:58pm

Kashmir should have a referendum. Both sides should now stop claiming their rights and give the right to them decide where they stand.

Bing-Bud-A-Bang Jan 08, 2016 01:39pm

@Baltistani - that is a question to be asked to Pakistan?

Khwarezmi Jan 08, 2016 02:41pm

No matter what happened with GB within Pakistani Federation one thing is clear: Muslims of Kashmir belong to Pakistan just as the Hindus of Junagarh belongs to India where the Dogra and Muslim rulers both had signed instruments of accession but neither countries accepted because of religious sentiments. Partition is final and Kashmir is integral to this process.

indian muslim Jan 08, 2016 02:52pm

@Khwarezmi What about 340 million muslims of India ?

sbk Jan 08, 2016 03:08pm

@indian muslim , It is for them to decide.

Ejaz Alam Barcha Jan 08, 2016 03:12pm

Excuse me all! I am GB, no one dare to make opinions and decisions about my land. My grandfather S.F.Shah (Gilgit-Scouts) was also played a vital to make us free from Sikhs Raj.Our (GB's) forefathers gave many sacrifices for freedom fight, actually no one know this and no one wants to talks about this... That was our decision, to be a part of Pakistan.Who is UN? to make decisions about my Gb..I decide Future of GB, that is I Love my dear home land Pakistan, still and forever..It’s not too late... I want right to "VOTE", like right of every Pakistani.That’s my basic right being Peaceful Pakistani, being Good-Pakistani, being Human.How can you make successful "PAK-CHINA CORIDOOR" project without asking my opinion?? Think about that....Thanks

sbk Jan 08, 2016 03:27pm

@Ejaz Alam Barcha , Leave aside your views. What are the views of the people of the land ?

Khawaja Fahad Jan 08, 2016 03:40pm

Pakistan should organize a UN supervised plebiscite in GB for the people of GB to decide whether to join Pakistan or not.It should be free and transparent.This would further strengthen Pakistan claim of Kashmir as it would showcase our commitment to peoples choice in this conflict

sbk Jan 08, 2016 03:53pm

@Khawaja Fahad , Your views that, " Pakistan should organize a UN supervised plebiscite in GB for the people of GB to decide whether to join Pakistan or not.It should be free and transparent." is correct.

Whatisinname Jan 08, 2016 04:59pm

"The UN advised both India and Pakistan to remove their armies from all disputed territories, so that a UN-supervised referendum could take place. Neither country was prepared to let go of territories under their control, and the matter went into cold storage." Why India does not agree to the proposed plebiscite is understandable. Why can't Pakistan allow it in GB and AJ&K? Annexing GB as suggested in this news would be the same as India did vis-a-vis Kashmir through a constitutional amendment. This would effectively mean both keep what they control now. This arrangement may be mutually beneficial and acceptable for Pakistan and India. What if this is not acceptable to Kashmiris?

M. Siddique Jan 08, 2016 05:19pm

Pakistan should have annexed Kashmir long time ago. Time to move on for both the countries.

Pune-India Jan 08, 2016 06:21pm

@indian muslim: Officially India have 200 Millions Muslims

Ghaznavi Jan 08, 2016 06:30pm

@Whatisinname Well said

probono publico Jan 08, 2016 10:49pm

Other option for Chinese is to enter Afghanistan via Wakhan Corridor and then re-enter into Pakistan's KPK Province. This will give time for Pakistan to legislate and integrate Gilgit-Baltistan as a new Province.

Riaz M M Jan 08, 2016 11:17pm

Whatever happens to GB ,Ladakh or Azad Kashmir is quite different from what happens toValley of Kashmir &Jammu.There is only one solution that is independence of Valley of Kashmir &Jammu which will be acceptable to Kashmiris and Pakistanis,nothing else is acceptable,this the minimum and only solution.

asad lateef Jan 09, 2016 07:33am

@Ijaz what is the guarantee that both kashmiri living on either border will go with pakistan.remember the word plebiscite was inserted under USA influence in 1948.Do you know what they meant,to have kashmir as independent country,thereafter assert influence to make economic corridor,which is vital for pakistan's survival on dock.remember gilgit baltistan is said to be part of kashmir.Also keep in mind that china has habit of claiming these parts as of china.

madrasaproduct Jan 09, 2016 08:06am

If it was an unconditional offer then why did pakistan regard GB as disputed and refer it to UN ?

Cant you see contradiction in your statements ?

krish Jan 09, 2016 09:52am

@M Waj , The partition fixed certain areas for india and pakistan, the ones that werent fixed were given a choice to accede to india or pakistan or stay independent until convinced. Now kashmir choose india, and if its muslims didnt want to stay in india they need to move to pakistan as the rest of the muslims from the current indain region did. (as the hindus from the current pakistan region did). The kashmiris dont have any special rights in this matter, imagine if hindus claimed similar rights in the sindh or punjab area of pakistan or muslims in pakistan claim similar rights in the hyderabad in india. So the talk of kashmiri muslims rights are not solvable in the first place and everyone knows it and why should it, are they special ? The rest of hindu/muslim population dealt with the partition and so should the kashmiris.

Sami Qureshi Jan 09, 2016 01:25pm

Pakistan is now moving on right direction. Good relation should now has to be stablished between India and Pakistan. Pakistan will have to spend the country's resources on the welfare of its citizens rather than to burn it through gun powder.

Esesem Jan 09, 2016 07:13pm

Pakistan by making GB its province is giving the same status to J&K; that is it will not be disputed territory any more; maybe that will end the dispute; India should give maximum autonomy to J & K

Ishaq Jan 09, 2016 09:24pm

Wow great

Kamz Jan 09, 2016 09:47pm

This is a good idea, we need to stop fighting with the Indians, both India and Pakistan need to grow up. Let there be integration, we are losing huge potential with this conflict, Pakistan and India could become a services powerhouse, as both countries have huge number of English speakers. The Kashmir issue will be solved this way, let each country integrate Kashmir and have an open border policy. Both Indian and Pakistan need to bring those who create conflict to justice, it is clear in India there is the RSS, and in Pakistan we have these miscreants, on whom Pakistan is hedging its bets, soon these groups will splinter, and before you know it, you'll have Islamic State knocking on the door, which will lead to flight of capital. We need to work with India, we can't change our neighbours, and we are NOT Arabs.