ISLAMABAD    -  Days after agreeing to grant status of a full-fledged province to Gilgit-Baltistan, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Friday said the move may destroy the case of Kashmiri people for self-determination as enshrined in the UN Security Council resolutions.

The PML-N has demanded to convene an immediate meeting of the Kashmir Committee to assess the impact on Kashmir conflict due to change in the constitutional status of Gilgit-Baltistan. In a letter to the Chairman Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir, former defence minister Khurram Dastgir Khan said there was public consternation in Gilgit-Baltistan and across Pakistan after emergence of reports that the higher defence leadership had recently convened a meeting of different political parties to propose and discuss hitherto unknown change in G-B’s constitutional status. He said, according to the news reports, the government has decided to elevate G-B to the status of a full-fledged province with all constitutional rights, including its representation in the Senate and the National Assembly.

It is worth mentioning that the PML-N leadership had agreed in a meeting with Chief of Army Staff few days back, to grant status of a full-fledged province to Gilgit-Baltistan as the parliamentary leaders of different political parties visited the GHQ to discuss the issue. 

The PML-N central leader said rumours and discontent was rising as the government has so far kept its formal intent and consequent legislation concealed from the Pakistani people and their elected representatives. As of this writing, the government has not submitted any legislation to the Parliament, he said. “Legitimate, alarming concerns have been expressed that subsuming of GB by Pakistan will destroy the case for self-determination of the Kashmiri people enshrined in the UN Security Council resolutions as it mirrors India’s revocation of the special constitutionally-guaranteed autonomous status of IIOJK in August 2019,” said Khurram Dastgir in the letter.

He said that ministers and officials of the Ministry for K&GB and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well independent experts, must brief the Kashmir committee in detail on the probable consequences of subsuming GB as a full province in Pakistan. Khurram Dastgir pointed out that in addition to addressing the above concerns in detail, the Committee must be briefed on the possible geopolitical consequences of subsuming GB as a full province while there is an ongoing China-India military standoff in neighbouring Ladakh in IIOJK.