Imran’s move on Gilgit-Baltistan violates Pakistan Constitution

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan

COLUMN

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has violated the Constitution of his own country by announcing Provincial status for Gilgit-Baltistan, a mountainous region which is a part of undivided Jammu and Kashmir and legally part of India.

The Imran Khan government’s move amounts to officially merging Gilgit-Baltistan with Pakistan despite claims by Islamabad that it is a so-called ‘Azad’ region.

This goes against the spirit of the Pakistan Constitution, whose Article 257 states: “When the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir decide to accede to Pakistan, the relationship between Pakistan and that State shall be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people of that State.”

Gilgit-Baltistan was annexed by Pakistan in October 1947 and since then it remains under illegal occupation.

There have been demands within Gilgit-Baltistan for freedom from Pakistan but those voices are suppressed with brute force by the Pakistani forces. There are numerous cases of brutality and atrocities to which the local populace of Gilgit-Baltistan are being subjected to.

India has denounced Pakistan’s move to declare Gilgit-Baltistan as its province, saying the decision is meant to “camouflage its illegal occupation” of the region.

“The Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including the area of so-called ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’, are an integral part of India by virtue of the legal, complete and irrevocable accession of Jammu and Kashmir to the Union of India in 1947,” Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson of India’s External Affairs Ministry, said recently.

He said India “firmly rejects” Pakistan’s attempt “to bring material changes to a part of Indian territory, under its illegal and forcible occupation”.

“We call upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation,” the MEA spokesman said.