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Pakistan Set To Declare PoK Bordering Gilgit-Baltistan Its 5th Province

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| March 16 , 2017 , 14:55 IST
[caption id="attachment_250772" align="aligncenter" width="700"]Pakistan Set To Declare PoK Bordering Gilgit-Baltistan Its 5th Province Pakistan Set To Declare PoK Bordering Gilgit-Baltistan Its 5th Province[/caption] In a move that may raise concerns in India, reports suggest that Pakistan is planning to declare the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region also known as Northern Areas as its fifth province. Pakistan's minister for inter-provincial coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada told Geo TV that a committee headed by advisor of foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz had proposed giving the status of a province to Gilgit-Baltistan. "The committee recommended that Gilgit-Baltistan should be made a province of Pakistan," Pirzada said on Wednesday. ALSO READ: Gilgit-Baltistan Based AAC Calls For Shutdown He also said that a constitutional amendment would be made to change the status of the region, through which the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes. The four provinces that are presently under Pakistan are Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Punjab, and Balochistan. Gilgit-Baltistan shares a geographical boundary with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. India has maintained that entire area is its integral part while Pakistan sees it as separate from PoK. ALSO READ: ‘Pak’s Withdrawal From Gilgit-Baltistan Will Help Resolve Kashmir Issue’ The USD 46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through this region, and reports said Pakistan was mulling to elevate the constitutional status of the region in a bid to provide legal cover to the CPEC. Reports also said China's concerns about the unsettled status of Gilgit-Baltistan prompted Pakistan to change its status. According to an earlier report in Dawn newspaper, Pakistan was mulling to elevate the constitutional status of the region in a bid to provide legal cover to the CPEC. The move could signal a historic shift in the country's position on the future of the wider Kashmir region, the paper had quoted experts as saying.