PAKISTAN celebrated its 73rd Independence day on Aug 14. Sadly the nearly 2.2 million people of Gilgit-Baltistan did not join in the festivities whole-heartedly.

Gilgit-Baltistan has a population of more than 2.2 million who are intensely patriotic and have always fiercely defended the motherland. So much so that in 1948 when GB was under the yoke of the Dogra Hindu maharaja of Kashmir, the people rose and threw out his forces to join Pakistan. Ever since, it has been a bastion of patriotic Pakistanis willing to give their all for the nation.

Unfortunately, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan have a long-standing grievance that has not been addressed. Even after more than seven decades since independence, the state of Pakistan has failed to grant an unambiguous status to GB, owing to which the region has suffered and been kept out of the national mainstream.

As the people of this region are patriotic and loyal citizens and ready to render any sacrifice for the country, GB should immediately designated as a province of Pakistan.

Zahid Ali Zahori

Nagar, Gilgit-Baltistan

Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2020