Pakistan to elevate Gilgit-Baltistan to a full-fledged province

Published: September 19, 2020

The Pakistan government is to elevate the status of Gilgit Baltistan to a full-fledged province. India on the other hand has conveyed that the entire Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh including Gilgit and Baltistan is an integral part of the country.

 Highlights

According to the announcement made by a Pakistan Minister, the Prime Minister Imran Khan is to visit Gilgit-Baltistan region soon. The Prime Minister will then make a formal announcement in elevating the status of the region into a full-fledged province. Also, the Pakistan government is to soon increase the infrastructure work on the special economic zone at Gandapur located in China Pakistan economic corridor. The CPEC connects Gwadar port in in Balochistan of Pakistan with Xinjiang province of China and passes through Pakistan occupied Kashmir (Gilgit-Baltistan).

The CPEC implementation cost is expected to be around 46 billion USD. India has been constantly raising concerns against the proposed corridor as the corridor passes through the Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

Current Scenario

Currently most of the administrative power of the Gilgit-Baltistan region rests with the Federal Ministry of Kashmir Affairs of Pakistan. The Pakistan government had earlier granted limited powers to the region. Now making it as a full-fledged province will increase the power of the local government in the region. This means that the disputed region getting integrated with Pakistan completely and the province is to be treated just like other provinces of the country.

In 2009, the then Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari provided limited autonomy to the region. He renamed the region from Northern areas to Gilgit-Baltistan. Through the Gilgit-Baltistan empowerment and self-governance order, Zadari provided provincial status to the region. Thus, the region received its own provincial assembly through the order. The region till date has no representation in the national assembly.

Special Provisions

Till date the region enjoys tax free status. The local government in the region has no power to introduce taxes in the region. The Federal government subsidised petroleum products and wheat to the locals in the region. Now with the Government of Pakistan providing full provincial status to the Gilgit-Baltistan province, the local government will be empowered to make its own policy decisions just like other provinces of Pakistan.

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