Pakistan to convert Gilgit-Baltistan into fifth province

MAMOSA Report — The Pakistan government ruled by PML-Nawaz party has decided to upgrade northern region of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) into its fifth province.

The move follows recent recommendations to merge Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Afghanistan on the west with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on its east.

The widely viewed private TV channel Geo News quoted Inter-Provincial Coordination Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada as saying that a committee headed by Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, Mr. Sartaj Aziz, had proposed giving the status of a province to GB.

The government has approved the suggestion, the channel reported.

Pirzada said a legislative bill to amend the Constitution of Pakistan will be presented in the National Assembly following the suggestion.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will also utilize his special powers to give GB the provincial status, the minister added.

Once declared a province, GB will have provincial lawmaking assembly, a Chief Minster, provincial lawmakers, a Governor and a High Court, including parliamentary lawmakers in the national assembly and Senate – a move meant to bring northern areas into the mainstream.

GB is host to northern gateway of the humongous $56 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). In November, the first consignment of export goods from China entered Sost dry port in GB before traveling south to Gwadar port in Balochistan for sea-shipping to the Middle East and Africa.

Pakistan presently has four provinces: Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab – its largest.

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