Members of the European Parliament Disappointed With the Comments of Chief Minister of Gilgit Baltistan

Jan 11, 2010, 09:43 ET from Friends of Gilgit Baltistan, European Parliament

BRUSSELS, January 11 /PRNewswire/ -- A group of Members of the European Parliament are extremely disappointed to note that the Pakistan media has reported the newly elected Chief Minister of Gilgit Baltistan as saying that his government would constitute a legal committee within a month to determine whether the region could be given the status of Pakistan's fifth province.

They would like to emphasise that Gilgit Baltistan has, for the first time, been finally given a modicum of democracy after 1947. It is essential that democratic institutions and the democratic ethos be allowed to take root before seeking to hurriedly fashion the future status of the region. It should not be forgotten that Gilgit Baltistan is part of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir which Pakistan itself calls disputed territory. Therefore unless the dispute is resolved and the people of Gilgit and Baltistan freely decide how they wish to shape their future, it would be highly irresponsible for any government of Gilgit Baltistan to seek to make the region a province of Pakistan. Gilgit Baltistan does not figure in the territorial definition of Pakistan according to Pakistan's own constitution and making it a fifth province of Pakistan would be tantamount to forcible annexation which the international community cannot countenance.

SOURCE Friends of Gilgit Baltistan, European Parliament