Dec 06, 2018

Gilgit-Baltistan: Governmental Committee Recommends Constitutional Changes

A high level Pakistani governmental committee has recommended assigning regional status to Gilgit-Baltistan. Although a complex issue in the broader geopolitical context of the region, this could be interpreted as a step from Pakistan to ensure the fundamental rights of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. However, constitutional amendments are required and support from both Pakistan and Gilgit-Baltistan is still unclear.

The article below was published by The Express Tribune:

A high level governmental committee has recommended changes in ‘The Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order, 2018’ for providing all fundamental rights to the people of the northern areas which have a special status due to their being regarded as part of disputed Himalayan valley of Kashmir.

A seven-judge bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar was told this on Monday [3 December 2018] as it resumed hearing of a case related to giving constitutional status to Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B).

Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Anwar Mansoor Khan submitting the committee’s recommendations said the same recommendations would be sent to the federal cabinet. The bench asked all the stakeholders including the AGP to finalise draft of the amendments in relevant laws.

It will take up the matter once again on Friday [7 December 2018]. The committee has recommended that the G-B be given status of a provisional province, till the final settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute and implementation of the UN resolutions on Kashmir. However, a constitutional amendment would be required for implementing this recommendation.

The federal government would need to weigh in the political options and thereafter also see whether it would be able to secure the votes required for amending the Constitution.

The committee also proposed that in case of any constitutional amendment giving the G-B the status of a province, some groundwork may be undertaken to take the concerned stakeholders into confidence and explain it to them that such decision will not have any negative effect on the Kashmir cause.


Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons