Pakistan wants to make Gilgit Baltistan its province to save CPEC project, says activist
Geneva [Switzerland], September 22 (ANI): A political activist from Gilgit Baltistan has said that Pakistan is forced to make occupied Gilgit Baltistan as its fifth province as the multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project passing through the region is in the doldrums. Pakistan and China are facing intense pressure since after the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status by India.
"They is so much pressure from the Pakistani public to counter the Indian support which India is receiving on a global level after the abrogation of the Article 370 and Article 35 A of the Indian Constitution that they have to come up with some kind of gimmick, or some kind of announcements that could satisfy the people of Pakistan", said Dr Amjad Mirza, a political activist from Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
Dr Mirza believes that it is not easy for Pakistan to annex Gilgit Baltistan and make it the fifth province simply because Gilgit Baltistan is part of the Kashmir issue, which is lying pending in the United Nations.
"Imran Khan's announcement that they are going to give transitional provincial status to Gilgit Baltistan is just carrot and stick policy because if they are honest in developing Gilgit Baltistan or if they really want Gilgit Baltistan to integrate into Pakistan, the first thing they should do is to release all the political prisoners.
"Pakistan should abolish Schedule IV that deprives all the citizens of Gilgit Baltistan from freedom of speech and finally they should stop all land grabs, they should stop the construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam and they should take other steps towards restoring human rights in Gilgit Baltistan. Well, that is not the case. So, by announcing that they are going to give Gilgit Baltistan a status of province and making it the fifth province of Pakistan they are trying to influence the electorate of Gilgit Baltistan because in November, elections are being held in Gilgit Baltistan"
The CPEC project enters Pakistan via Gilgit Baltistan from China's Xinjiang province.
The CPEC is the flagship project of Beijing's ambitious multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). India has protested to China over the project as it is being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. (ANI)