The question of provincializing Gilgit-Baltistan has haunted Pakistan time and again since the former’s unconditional accession in 1948. PTI government is grappling with similar challenges but came up with a resolute intention to make the territory – the fifth province of Pakistan, unlike her predecessor regimes. India has warned Islamabad of possible violations of her international commitments and deliberate alienation of Wilsonian right of self-determination for the long-troubled Kashmiris. Yet, it doesn’t appear to be affecting the government’s policy in any visible manner.
The press conference conducted by the federal minister of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan, Ali Amin Gandapur, announced elections for the Gilgit Baltistan assembly on November 15, 2020. And at the same time, the federal minister circulated the news of granting provisional provincial autonomy to Gilgit Baltistan, which Prime Minister Imran Khan would officially announce soon. This news has brought in sharp reactions from the neighbor India.
It is a fact that Gilgit-Baltistan has become increasingly important since the launch of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC), and the eyes of the world are now on Gilgit-Baltistan. The region is also involved in the Great Game between the world’s great powers. It is noteworthy that the decision to form the government has signaled a new interim province. However, how it will happen, no details have been revealed.