Islamabad: In a move that may raise concerns in India, Pakistan has announced that it is planning to declare the strategic Gilgit-Baltistan region as its fifth province.
The Gilgit-Baltistan area is Pakistan’s northernmost administrative territory that borders the disputed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
As per sources, Pakistan’s minister for inter-provincial coordination Riaz Hussain Pirzada said that a committee headed by advisor of foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz had proposed giving the status of a province to Gilgit-Baltistan.
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.
Gilgit-Baltistan is treated as a separate geographical entity by Pakistan. It has a regional assembly and an elected chief minister.
Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh are four provinces of Pakistan.
The move may raise concerns in India as the disputed region borders Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).