GILGIT: Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Haji Gulbar Khan has said that granting the region a status of provisional province of Pakistan was a longstanding and unanimous demand of GB’s people and would not affect the Kashmir issue.

Speaking to a delegation of foreign media in CM Secretariat Gilgit on Wednesday, accompanied by adviser to CM on Information Eman Shah, CM Khan said people of the region should be provided with constitutional rights that people in other parts of the country enjoy.

He said that all political parties in the region had been demanding that constitutional rights enjoyed by people in other parts of the country should be given to GB’s people as well. “We have been making efforts to get constitutional status of the region. The GB assembly has passed unanimous resolutions in this regard,” he added.

He recalled that during a 2020 visit to the region, former prime minister Imran Khan announced to elevate GB’s status to a provisional province of Pakistan. In March last year, a private member’s bill had been submitted to the Senate of Pakistan seeking an amendment to the Constitution to grant that status to the strategically located Gilgit-Baltistan and providing representation to the area in both houses of parliament.

However, before tabling the bill in parliament, a no-confidence motion against Imran Khan was tabled, he lamented, reiterating that granting the status of provisional province to Gilgit-Baltistan could not affect the Kashmir issue.

CM Khan hoped that the next political government in the Centre would give them their due status.

National Finance Commission share

Replying to a question, he said GB had been deprived of an appropriate share in the NFC award. “If GB’s share in the NFC is fixed, the region would get a reasonable amount. However, currently, GB gets half of its share from the federal government in the absence of the NFC share formula,” he pointed out.

He complained that no mega project under CPEC had been initiated in the region, but his government was striving to get some projects included in CPEC. He said the previous governments, too, had made efforts to secure GB’s share in the economic corridor since 400km to 500km of its route passes through the region.

Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2023

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