The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Legislative Assembly has unanimously passed two resolutions against the proposed provincial status for Gilgit-Baltistan region.
The resolutions were tabled by AJK Finance Minister Latif Akbar and All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference (AJKMC) member assembly Sayab Khalid on Wednesday.
Apart from the treasury members, the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, AJK chapter, unexpectedly supported the resolutions. Other parliamentary parties, including the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference (AJKMC), also backed the resolutions while Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Barrister Sultan Mahmood did not attend the session.
“Making Gilgit-Baltistan a fifth province will weaken Pakistan’s national stand on Jammu and Kashmir at the international level. Gilgit-Baltistan was part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and whenever a plebiscite is conducted the people of G-B will also have the right to decide their future with the people of other parts of the State of Jammu and Kashmir,” reads one resolution.
It further stated that the move to give G-B provincial status would not only serve the interests of India but also negate the stand of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and army chief General Raheel Sharif on the Kashmir dispute.
“It is time to work more for internal autonomy, political and constitutional rights than taking such an initiative that will lead us to the division of the State of Jammu and Kashmir,” it further reads.
Talking to the media outside the assembly building, AJK Rehabilitation Minister Abdul Majid Khan said the state government appreciated the support of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, MQM and AJKMC to pass unanimously the resolutions against provincial status for G-B.
“It was our collective responsibility to stand against every move that paves the way for the division of the State of Jammu and Kashmir,” Khan said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2016.