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AJK govt opposes moves to convert GB into province

Updated Jan 10, 2016 10:14am


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MUZAFFARABAD: The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government has decided to “put up strong resistance” against alleged moves by Islamabad to convert Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) into a province before a settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

The government was also contemplating expressing its “indignation” at the alleged plans through a resolution in the next session of the Legislative Assembly, apart from creating awareness through different means among the public on its repercussions, ruling People’s Party leaders said on Saturday.

“Constitutionally and legally, the territory of Gilgit-Baltistan is part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and any attempt to secede it from the disputed region will deal a blow to the stand of Pakistan and Kashmiris regarding the longstanding dispute,” said Sardar Abid Hussain Abid, AJK Minister for Information, while talking to Dawn.

“It’s not only the government in Muz­af­farabad, but all those who espouse a plebiscite in the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir will resist such a move,” he added.

The AJK minister maintained that GB was part of Jammu and Kashmir “not by our claims” but by historic facts and any attempt to change that position before resolution of the Kashmir issue would be tantamount to forsaking stance on the Himalayan region forever.

“Any prudent and visionary person cannot take this step which I believe in all fairness and honesty is bound to harm the Kashmir issue beyond retrieve.”

The strong reaction by the AJK government came in the wake of media reports that Pakistan was mulling elevating status of GB on Chinese insistence.

Mr Abid said the alleged Chinese insistence was a ‘lame excuse’.

“China is making investment worth billions in our territory which too is not part of the federation of Pakistan… Therefore this logic does not hold ground,” he said.

He pointed out that the GB and AJK practically enjoyed the status of de facto provinces of Pakistan, but if the same status was given official approval, it could cause more damage than the perceived benefits.

“… Even if there are some momentary benefits, for Pakistan, the losses in the long run are far greater.”

The minister, however, expressed optimism that the quarters enjoying the mandate to take such a decision, such as foreign and Kashmir affairs ministries, could hardly resort to this step.

“Nevertheless, if some people want to do it, they should firstly issue a declaration that the Kashmir issue stands closed from today and Pakistan doesn’t have any interest in its resolution,” he said.

Mr Abid also made it clear that opposition to giving status of a province to GB should never mean opposition to more autonomy and constitutional rights for the GB people.

“We have a better status than GB but even we are not satisfied with it and have unanimously passed recommendations for constitutional reforms. And in the same spirit, we support more constitutional powers for our brethren in Gilgit- Baltistan… Even more than us,” he added.

“But the federal government should avoid annexing the territory as a province, lest India may use it a justification to annex the territories of Jammu and Kashmir under its control,” he warned.

Separately, Shaukat Javed Mir, one of the media advisers to the People’s Party, said it were the governments of his party in Pakistan that had granted constitutional and legal rights and liberties to the GB people.

“They are our brethren and we are not antipathetic to their greater autonomy, but we cannot condone any move that would waste the blood of thousands of Kashmiri martyrs for freedom of the held territory and its accession to Pakistan,” he said.

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2016


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Comments (62) Closed

hijazi Jan 10, 2016 10:38am

so another turmoil has been started. from past seventy years what we've achieved because of this absurd issue. kashmiris are enjoying tgr life and we're here mourning for thm. Let's leave this issue and move on!

Santosh Menon Jan 10, 2016 10:39am


Indian Jan 10, 2016 10:49am

"India may use it a justification to annex the territories of Jammu and Kashmir"? Excuse? India already treats J&K as a state. I have studied in J&K and I work in a top notch US company. Half of the students in my college were outsiders and I had an awesome experience and many friends. Things have changed dear. Forget it and move on.

shehzad younus Jan 10, 2016 10:57am

GB should be given the status of provisional province not the status of full will be harm full for us n damage the kashmir cause.

sonny afridi Jan 10, 2016 11:01am

As a kashmiri i firmly appose separating GB from AJK ,as both are part of independent future nation of Kashmir.

Matin Jan 10, 2016 11:07am

AJK should not forget that it is a part of Pakistan.

Kpk Jan 10, 2016 11:14am

Now its not about winning in punjab and ruling pakistan. Its a bit complex my friends

Khan Jan 10, 2016 11:32am

As a Pakistani I stand with kashmir on this issue.

KPk Jan 10, 2016 11:37am

Azad Kashmir is and always will be a Pakistani province!.

Ashfaq Jan 10, 2016 11:46am

Play your own games dear AJK minister , GB people have been long left with no rights and you enjoyed your status well.You have no right to speak on behalf of GB.

on looker Jan 10, 2016 11:54am

Kashmir issue should be settled between Pak and India by accepting/adjusting LOC and granting some constitutional protections to its residents - we need to move now with time!!

Reality Jan 10, 2016 12:08pm

Once this thing is done. Kashmir issue is resolved. Within 1 month Indian part of Kashmir will be resolved in Union of India scraping its own constitution, flag etc.. And nobody in the world, would be able to utter a thing. Its good that Pakistan has realised this.

flipflop Jan 10, 2016 12:26pm

Why not just conduct a vote in an international court where Kashmiris can vote with which country they want to side with. Perhaps employing electronic voting will be a best way to ensure there are no interference from the local governments. I don't know much about this issue; however, this vote will end this conflict for good. I may be wrong but I think it is time to finish this...

Muhammad Jan 10, 2016 12:54pm

wow Really now they will tell us what to do.

Goodhopes Jan 10, 2016 12:56pm

AJK should also be given provincial status, we need more administrative units to develop. Punjab needs to be split into at least three unit, Sindh at least three units, KP at least three units and Balochistan two units. So no one feels deprived and all have uniform chance to develop.

Nauman Jan 10, 2016 12:58pm

Such wise comments by ppp man! unexpected but most welcomed.

Khwarezmi Jan 10, 2016 01:25pm
  1. Statehood within Pakistan is a demand from GBs own people.
  2. Indians will never allow a plebisite as that vote will guaranteed go against India. GBs population will never be able to cast their vote anyway so no need to keep them in a limbo.
  3. Granting GB statehood will not change the fundamental nature of the Kashmir dispute with India as the Muslims Kashmiris them selves would like to join Pakistan
Proud GB Jan 10, 2016 01:47pm

GB gets to choose by itself. We are not part of Kashmir, we have a separate identity. Even our politicians have rejected the claims of AJK government. Therefore, it is not for the AJK government to decide.

Shyam Jan 10, 2016 02:20pm

Go ahead and declare province status, in a week good bye to Article 370 for J&K. good move, and Kashmiri problem solved for ever. No more fighting needed.

Afzal Jan 10, 2016 02:53pm

@Santosh Menon Do not get overexcited, Pakistan would never do anything which would harm Kashmir dispute.

Indian-dilse Jan 10, 2016 02:59pm

Good Pakistan is separating GB from Kashmir .This will help in implementing CPEC. India should also separate Jammu and Ladakh from J&K .This will help faster development.

Afzal Jan 10, 2016 03:05pm

@Khwarezmi GB should not be converted to a province at this stage. This will only provide India a reason to put hurdles on talk on Kashnir.

Ali Nagri Jan 10, 2016 03:08pm

Instead of speaking about GB,kashmiris should put their resistance againts indians who put their basic values in dark nights from previous 50 years.They have no right to invlove in provincial status of GB.GB having highest litery rate in country deserves better then this.

Ashis Jan 10, 2016 03:11pm

@flipflop That's called plebiscite in simple terms and that is not possible even in near future. So keep fighting and lose life and money is the only solution left.

BRILLIANT MAN Jan 10, 2016 03:29pm

If GB legislators can demand a province, what is wrong in Ladakh and Jammu people asking for a separate province each? Why cant India trifurcate J&K?

Walayat Malik Jan 10, 2016 04:00pm

It is a good move. Making G-B a province will pave the way for quick ( or automatic) resolution of Kashmir dispute and both sides will make LOC as a permanent border between India and Pakistan. Once this dispute is resolved and both countries have friendly relations the borders will become soft any way. There will be easy movement of people of both countries. For 68 years we have LOC with no end in sight. Pakistan government should not waste anymore time and should make G-B a province, and AK too.

Mehtab Jan 10, 2016 04:48pm

AJK government, speaking on GB status, none of your business.

arif Jan 10, 2016 04:52pm

@Indian Even if whole world and indian students study there does not change the reality on ground dear Mr Indian...keep dreaming

waheed khaksar Jan 10, 2016 04:55pm

PPP Govt tenure has almost near to finish, yet suddenly they remember GB, so called AJK govt which is handling from Islamabad and larkana, real leadership will stand as per Karachi Agreement, present Govt can not do anything.

Zak Jan 10, 2016 04:58pm

Do not change status of GB, whether China likes it or not. All kashmir, Azad and IOK are pending UN plebiscite. Never change a principled stand, because that is our strongest point and India's weakest. Don't lose it.

Zak Jan 10, 2016 04:59pm

@Indian if that's the case dear, then why you all so scared of a UN plebiscite. Put your money where your mouth is. Nothing to fear?

indian Jan 10, 2016 05:48pm

@Zak Thanks , Your warm words of encouragement have filled me with hope and I am no longer afraid, I agree for plebiscite, let all Kashmiris vote whether they want freedom or join pakistan/india,

taimoor khan Jan 10, 2016 06:02pm

@Zak I think we should follow what China wants ,they have long term strategy in mind.

Zak Jan 10, 2016 06:43pm

@indian Good ,Late realization but nonetheless, spread the word, plebiscite is not a bad word, have no fear , just go for it and you will achieve permanent peace, happiness and overall wellbeing.

MIRZA JAMSHED Jan 10, 2016 06:46pm

@taimoor khan I dont think so Chinese are doing for thier intetest not in The interest of anyone

modasar Jan 10, 2016 06:47pm

Gilgit baltistan is not part of azad Kashmir because gilgit baltistan shares nothing with Kashmir. People in azad Kashmir speak pothowari,Punjabi,pahari not even Kashmiri. Whereas gilgit baltistan totally have different cultures and languages from whole J&K region. The gilgit baltistan people do not want to associate with Kashmir region at all matter fact they get mad when you do. I have many friends from gilgit they do not like themselves to associate with Kashmir region.

taimoor khan Jan 10, 2016 06:56pm

@MIRZA JAMSHED China and Pakistan share same interests and see future together , so I don't agree that China is selfish and is interested in only their profits, they see interests of Pakistan as their interest and vice versa, we should agree to China and trust me , we are going to benefit from it.

Jaan Bhittani Jan 10, 2016 07:14pm

Let the GB people decide

Subham Jan 10, 2016 07:17pm

@Zak He is not an Indian I am 200% sure. So don't blindly assume that the opinion is from Indian's. As far as I know all Indians want peace but not at the cost of losing any land what they already possess and neither Pakistan wants. And also by this time you should have known that UN is not going to interfere in our matters. Now both the countries won't fight either due to being nuclear states. Also terrorist attacks wont solve the issue either and will deteriorate the cause. What I see as the only solution for future generation to live in peace is, making LOC a permanent International boundary.

Zak Jan 10, 2016 07:26pm

@Subham Pakistan got AJK , GB because of our bold move to educate the locals about their rights and go and get Kashmir and we are using the same strategy to get all of Kashmir and trust me we will succeed , kashmiris will be free one day, we will not give up our support and encouragement until our objective and that of kashmiris is achieved completely.

MIRZA JAMSHED Jan 10, 2016 07:33pm

@taimoor khan China is only looking for thier side of interests. Bekieve me for you will see the truth shortly

MIRZA JAMSHED Jan 10, 2016 07:36pm

@Subham Well said Subham.. India wants peace and no fights any more. Neither Pakistan wants it. Lets start a new chapter of peace

Inam Ulhaql Jan 10, 2016 07:41pm

Jklf full independence from pakistan and India best way forward

Matin Jan 10, 2016 07:46pm

@Inam Ulhaql you make no sense. Kashmir is a Muslim majority and it belongs to Pakistan.

Zak Jan 10, 2016 08:00pm

@Subham what if a kashmiri walked into your country and decided your nations future, would you accept? So don't dictate to kashmiris, the UN has decided it's future will be by vote. Honour what you agree.

kazim Jan 10, 2016 08:07pm

Stupidity has no limit. Such leaders are the real enemies of the people of GB.

Malik Jan 10, 2016 08:40pm

most people commenting on here do not even know the history of GB and kashmir. Gilgit Baltistan was always a seperate region with its own language, culture and people, sharing nothing with the people of AJK including the Kashmir Valley except religion, then under Sikh rule GB was annexed and forced to be part of Kashmir I believe it was by ranjit singh and ever since then GB has been put with Kashmir

Agha Ata Jan 10, 2016 08:53pm

That proves all the more that the quick settlement of Kashmir issue is unavoidable. WE have ignored the development of whole Pakistan in last 60 years only because of Kashmir. This opportunity we should not miss, at any cost. A quick settlement of Kashmir issue would change Pakistan for ever, and not doing so would be the greatest blunder we ever made.

Samina Jan 10, 2016 09:05pm

AjK minister has no business talking about the status of GB! For far too long, this region has been mis-used by the govt. to push for the cause of Kashmir. GB has nothing in common with AjK and GBians don't want to be part of any future state of Kashmir. A provincial status with Pakistan is what these people have aspired for more than 6 decades.

Secular Pathan Jan 10, 2016 09:27pm

Making GB a province and part of Pakistan is a good move, making the LOC as an international border is also a good move. People of GB wanted this from a long time and this way Pakistan will have tremendous economic development through CPEC and resolution of Kashmir dispute. This is amazing news if you think on it.

truth only Jan 10, 2016 09:46pm

@Khwarezmi Being Muslim does not guarantee that other Muslim will not prosecute you, look at syria, Iraq, Libya etc nearer to home Bangladesh . If you look from neutral points of view, kashmir will have advantage if they are sane enough to demand that if you want us to be with you than give us what we want all the fund all round development then why would we looked any where if our stomach are full and more over land belong local kashmir and if you are not indian also you will appreciate that india doesn't have resettlement programme as chinese have Done in Tibet by settling Han chinese and once their is peace army will move to barracks just like in mizoram, tripura, assam, nagaland etc choice is yours and as our famous president has once said religion is personal things, its should not bases for your decision and discussion.

Jatt Jan 10, 2016 09:50pm

@Malik yes it is true but GB cannot be separated until Kashmir matter is resolved with India

Zuhoor Jan 10, 2016 09:55pm

In the saga of Kashmir the real victims are the inhabitants of Gilgit Baltistan. Let us be clear on this. The people of GB are not in favour of them being associated with Kashmir. They have a different identity. Nothing in common with Kashmiries. Kashmires treat GB as a colony. What has kashmir govts done for GB in the last 68 years other then claiming GB is part of Kashmir? Now it is time to ask people of GB what they want, not the Kashmiris or the PAK gots what they want is good for GB. People of GB have suffered enough because of the Pakistani and Kashmiri politicians. Let us ask the GBians what they want. If you ask me one thing is for sure. There is no way GBians will consider themselves part of Kashmir.

sulman Jan 10, 2016 10:11pm

Afghani claim since 1895 that the entire region of KPK belongs to Afghanistan. We claim the Laddakh and Jammu where budget and Hindu are in majority. Azad Kashmir is separate from Indian dominance. We should accept reality and solve this issue for good right now and divert defence budget for the welfare of masses like edu hosp and roads.

sulman Jan 10, 2016 10:20pm

Afghani claim since 1895 that the entire region of KPK belongs to Afghanistan. We claim the Laddakh and Jammu where budh follower and Hindu are in majority respectively. Azad Kashmir is with Pakistan and free from Indian dominance. We should accept reality and solve this issue right now and reduce defence budget for the welfare of masses like edu hosp industries and roads. The weapon selling countries do not want to solve this issue. even in India Pakistan certain elements are against to solve this problems. we may revisit our stance. The move should be processed as suggest. The poor of both countries do not want more wars

GBian Jan 10, 2016 11:01pm

You Kashmiris are enjoying perks from both Pakistan and India in name of being disputed territories, if GB is part of Kashmir why you never demanded the same status that AJK enjoys. You have no right to talk on behalf of GB.

sad Jan 10, 2016 11:03pm

@Khwarezmi Kashmiri may opt for for a free J & K perhaps but not to be a part of Pak..

Sunil Jan 11, 2016 12:14am

@Zak you forgot shimla aggrement UN not play any rool.

Mohammad Afsar Jan 11, 2016 12:16am

I wonder what prompts this intention which is upsetting to Kashmiris.

Pakistan Government should give priority to those areas in Pakistan (eg: Hazara and South Punjab) in which people themselves have asked for a designation of Province.

john Jan 11, 2016 12:22am

@Zak It's been pending for 67 years. There are still some people wasting their life thinking that it will take place, like you for example. Give up man move on. Don't waste your life on this.

Talat Jan 11, 2016 02:29am

Indian occupied Kashmir and Azad Kashmir should be reunified as one and the people of Kashmir given the freedom to choose independence, or to join Pakistan or India. Either way they should be allowed that democratic right and should be able to live in peace between both India and Pakistan.

Rashid Sultan Jan 13, 2016 02:20pm

This talk of blood & brethren is just emotional clap trap. Face reality - it is land and people on it. It isn't about blood, brethren or co religion, etc.