#GS2 #Polity #International
India has slammed Pakistan for its attempt to accord provincial status to the “so-called Gilgit-Baltistan”, saying it is intended to camouflage the ‘illegal’ occupation of the region by Pakistan.
- In a ruling earlier this year, the Pakistan Supreme Court allowed Islamabad to amend a 2018 administrative order to conduct general elections in the region. The Gilgit-Baltistan Order of 2018 provided for administrative changes, including authorising the Prime Minister of Pakistan to legislate on an array of subjects.
- It is a picturesque, hilly region to the north of Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and east of the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
- The British sold it, along with the rest of Jammu and Kashmir, to the Dogra ruler of Jammu, Gulab Singh, after defeating the Sikh army in 1846.
- However they retained controlled over the area through a lease extracted from the Maharaja. This lease was last renewed in 1935.
- In 1947, a British army officer of the rank of Colonel imprisoned Maharaja Hari Singh’s governor in the region, and handed over the area for accession to Pakistan.
- Gilgit Baltistan (GB) is spread over 72,871 sq km, and is five-and-a-half times the size of PoK. But it is sparsely populated, with just under 20 lakh people.
- Gilgit-Baltistan is divided into three administrative divisions and 10 districts.
- Though both PoK and GB are ruled directly from Islamabad, neither is officially listed as the territory of Pakistan.
- Pakistan has just four provinces – Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (which now includes the Federally Administered Tribal areas or FATA), Balochistan, and Sindh.
- PoK and GB are both “autonomous territories”.