ISLAMABAD: Days after the civil and military leadership discussed ways and means to turn Gilgit-Baltistan into the fifth province of Pakistan, the federal cabinet is likely to have a threadbare debate over the proposal today which has been making rounds in the power corridors for the past few years.
Sources told Pakistan Today that Prime Minister Imran Khan is likely to take the cabinet members onboard over the proposed plan aimed at mitigating the sense of deprivation among the people of GB.
Earlier, the civil-military leaders had agreed that the new government of the autonomous region should decide on the matter.
Sources said that if the new legislative assembly agrees, GB would be given representation in the Senate and the National Assembly, and political leaders may also grant it provincial status after making some constitutional amendments.
They said that parliamentary leaders suggested during the meeting that a resolution could be passed by the new legislative assembly to make GB the fifth province of Pakistan. “Though some participants cautioned that altering the status of GB will affect the Kashmir dispute, they were assured that all stakeholders had been taken on board, and they agreed to the proposal,” a source said.
Recently, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur told the media that the federal government has decided to elevate GB to the status of a full-fledged province with all constitutional rights, including representation in the upper and lower houses of the parliament.
The minister said that Prime Minister Imran Khan would soon visit the region and make a formal announcement in this regard. “After consultation with all stakeholders, the federal government has decided in principle to give constitutional rights to Gilgit-Baltistan,” the minister told a delegation of journalists from GB. “Our government has decided to deliver on the promise it made to the people there.”
Gandapur further said after constitutional rights are granted to GB, the subsidy and tax exemption on wheat given to the region would not be withdrawn. “Until the people there stand on their feet, they will continue to enjoy this facility,” he added.