India reacts cautiously on reports of Pakistan planning to declare Gilgit-Baltistan as fifth province

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New Delhi | Published: March 15, 2017 9:16:08 PM

India has today reacted cautiously on reports of Pakistan planning to declare strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region as the fifth province.

The government will issue a statement on the development soon, he says. (File photo: ANI)

India has today reacted cautiously on reports of Pakistan planning to declare strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region as the fifth province. Ths step is likely to raise conceren here in India it borders Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). When asked, MoS MEA VK Singh refrained from speaking on  the matter and said that the government will issue a statement on the development soon.

Earlier in the day, Pakistan’s Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada had told Geo TV that a panel led by Advisor of Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz had suggested giving the status of a province to Gilgit-Baltistan.

Speaking to the channel, he had also said that a constitutional amendment would be made to change the region’ s status, through which the vital China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) pass through. The region is treated as a separate geographical entity by the neighbouring country. Gilgit-Baltistan region has an Assembly and an elected Chief Minister. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab are four provinces of Pakistan.

As per reports, China’s concern on unsettled status of Gilgit-Baltistan may have prompted Pakistan to change its status. According to an earlier report in the ‘Dawn’ . the country was planning to change the constitutional status of the regionin order to provide legal cover to the CPEC. The step could signal a historic shift in Pakistan’s position on the future of the Kashmir region, the paper also quoted experts as saying.

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Meanwhile, India today once again slammed Pakistan at the United Nations for forcibly keeping a part of it forcibly and illegally. Speaking at the UN, it also said that Pakistan continued its support for terrorist groups in Jammu and Kashmir, which is a main challenge to protect the human rights of citizens in the state. It further said that apart from becoming terrorism factory, Pakistan also alienated it’s own people through continued mistreatment of minorities.

(With inputs from PTI)

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