The political leadership of Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) sought on Monday a temporary provincial status for the region, including adequate representation in Senate and National Assembly of Pakistan, until the Kashmir issue is resolved.
The recommendation was given to a sub-committee of senate functional committee on human rights, which was convened to review the G-B Governance and Self-Rule Order 2009 and discuss human rights violations in the region.
The committee chaired by Senator Raza Rabbani and attended by senator Farhatullah Babar, G-B’s chief minister Syed Mehdi Shah, GB Legislative Assembly speaker Wazir Baig, GB Council members Amjad Advocate and Attaullah Shahab and chief secretary Gilgit-Baltistan.
The political leadership demanded a fully-fledged constitutional status for the region. They urged the govt to provide G-B complete financial autonomy and representation.
The officials of Kashmir Affairs and G-B will brief the panel today.
Earlier, the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights had visited the region in April and met all the relevant stakeholders to determine their reservations about the violation of political and constitutional rights.
The demands were made to the panel by Chief Minister Mehdi Shah. He added that G-B was facing difficulties due to the absence of a financial mechanism with the provincial government.
“We made it clear to the special committee on human rights that neither the UN resolution on Kashmir nor the establishment is hurdle in giving the constitutional rights to the GB people. But, there is need of will of political leadership in this regard,” said Amjad Hussain Advocate.
He added that even though G-B has been guaranteed provincial status under the 2009 order, no financial mechanism rests with the provincial government. On the contrary, it has neither been given a share in NFC awards nor allowed to collect its GST and customs duty, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2014.