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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Pak senators move bill in Parliament, demand provincial status for Gilgit-Baltistan

A group of Pakistani senators has submitted a bill in the Upper House of Parliament to grant provincial status to the Gilgit-Baltistan region.

Senators Kauda Babar, Ahmad Khan, Naseebullah Bazai, and Prince Omar of Balochistan Awami Party proposed amendments to Article 1 of the Constitution to create a new interim province, the Express Tribune newspaper reported.

Formerly known as the Northern Areas, Gilgit Baltistan is administered by the Pakistani federal government and not by the Pakistan-administered Kashmir government.

India and Pakistan both lay claim to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including the areas of Gilgit and Baltistan.

India maintains the government of Pakistan or its judiciary has no locus standi on territories Islamabad has under control.

The BAP’s constitutional bill stated that the people of Gilgit Baltistan have long been demanding equal citizenship rights.

The bill further said a unanimous resolution was also passed by the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly.

It proposed three seats in the National Assembly for Gilgit-Baltistan and four in the Senate – two general seats and one each for technocrats and women.

It also proposed a Gilgit-Baltistan high court, based in Gilgit with a bench in Skardu.

It also seeks the region’s representation in the Election Commission of Pakistan.

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