PML-N demands Kashmir Committee meeting on Gilgit-Baltistan
The main opposition party has demanded that a meeting of Kashmir Committee should be convened immediately to discuss the reports about changing the constitutional status of Gilgit-Baltistan, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Friday.
PML-N leader Khurram Dastgir, in a letter addressed to the Kashmir Committee chairman, noted that uncertainty and doubts were being created in the region after the emergence of reports which said that the military leadership had given a briefing to the parliamentary parties’ leaders after calling them on changing the constitutional status of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Currently, Shehryar Khan Afridi of the ruling PTI is the Kashmir Committee chairman. He was elected to the office in a controversial move following walkout staged by the members of three mainstream opposition parties in May this year.
Khurram mentioned that Federal Minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur too had hinted at making the region the fifth province of Pakistan in a recent interview.
“Despite these rumours, the government has kept its intentions and the proposed legislation on their basis about Gilgit-Baltistan a secret from the people and the public representatives,” the letter read.
The PML-N leader said fears were rampant that making Gilgit-Baltistan the fifth province would damage the Kashmiris’ movement for the right of self-determination. “This right to self-determination is based upon international law and the UN Security Council resolutions.”
He also said that there were suspicions that the constitutional status of Gilgit-Baltistan was being changed by taking refuge in the fears of China – a friendly country – with regard to CPEC’s legal status.
Therefore, Khurram said, the officials from the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Kashmir as well as independent analysts should give a detailed briefing to the committee meeting.
Also, the committee must also be informed about the consequences of changing Gilgit-Baltistan’s constitutional status, which had been caused by the recent military tensions between China and India in Ladakh, the PML-N lawmaker wrote in his letter.