Pakistan government has decided to elevate Gilgit-Baltistan to the status of a full-fledged province, according to media reports. India has maintained that the region in the northern portion of the Union territory of Ladakh is an integral part of India.
According to a report in The Express Tribune, Minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs, Ali Amin Gandapur, on Wednesday said that Prime Minister Imran Khan would soon visit the region and make the formal announcement to elevate Gilgit-Baltistan to the status of a full-fledged province with all constitutional rights.
Gandapur said Gilgit-Baltistan would be given adequate representation on all constitutional bodies, including the National Assembly and the Senate.
The minister also said that work on the Moqpondass Special Economic Zone would begin under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Pakistan’s new move came weeks after it released a political map that laid untenable claims to Indian territories. New Delhi had termed the act as an “exercise of political absurdity”.
Pakistan's new political map had included Indian territories of Junagadh, Sir Creek and Manavadar in Gujarat, of Jammu and Kashmir and a part of Ladakh.
Islamabad’s attempts to bring material change in Pakistan occupied Kashmir had drawn strong reactions from India which asserted that 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,” the Ministry of External Affairs had said in May.