ISLAMABAD: As the government delays the announcement of granting provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan, the civil society and political workers of the area are going to organise a protest rally in Islamabad on Saturday in favour of constitutional reforms in GB.
Addressing a press conference at National Press Club in Islamabad on Thursday, former minister and Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) GB leader Dr Muhammad Iqbal, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) Vice President Haji Qurban Ali, Hunza Qaumi Itehad leader Imtiaz Gilgiti, Diamer Youth Forum leader Zaeehullah and others expressed that the delay in granting due rights to GB is adding frustration among young population of the area.
They demanded the government to grant the provisional provincial status to GB as promised by the government. The same was also previously recommended by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) through a high power committee.
“We assure our Kashmiri brothers and other stakeholders that granting provisional provincial status to GB will not affect the Kashmir issue. We would be taking part in plebiscite whenever it takes place,” said Dr Iqbal inviting leaders and activist from Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) to join hands with people of GB in the struggle for rights, which are denied for over 70 years.
“As we are going to hold a protest rally from Press Club to D-Chowk in Islamabad on October 24, 2020, we invite the political leaders, workers and civil society from AJK to support us in the struggle for rights. Since the Kashmir issue is not being affected, Kashmiri brothers should stand by GB for grant of provisional provincial status to the region,” he added. According to him, a provisional status it is not the real aspiration of people of GB, who demand a complete provincial status, but admitted that it would at least resolve many issues.
“The representation to GB in National Assembly and Senate, as proposed by the previous government of PML-N, would reduce the sense of deprivation of the people of GB,” he said, adding that people of the area would continue their support to Kashmiri people.
He also said the Supreme Court (SC), in it’s a landmark decision regarding reform in GB, also made it clear that granting provisional provincial status to GB would not affect the cause of Kashmir.
Haji Qurban Ali, while addressing the press conference said that the protest rally on Saturday would be joined by political leaders, workers, civil society activists, students and residents of GB. Besides, to attend the rally, people from Gilgit and other parts of the region would also leave for Islamabad by Friday.
Imtiaz Gilgiti said that the federal government should not wait for the election in GB for the announcement of the provincial status as there was a complete consensus among political parties in GB regarding their demand for constitutional rights. Unanimous resolutions of GB Assembly and joint statements of All Parties Conferences held in GB were enough to know the aspiration and demand of GB, he added.