Gilgit-Baltistan: Opposition makes Pak PM Imran Khan’s job difficult
Faced with an unfriendly opposition and having a thin majority in the National Assembly, the turning of Gilgit-Baltistan into Pakistan’s fifth province seems to be an uphill task for the Imran Khan-led government. To elevate Gilgit-Baltistan to a full-fledged province with all constitutional rights, including representation in the National Assembly and Senate, will require an amendment in Pakistan’s constitution that can only be achieved with a two-thirds majority in parliament. In an attempt to convince the opposition, army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed last month met 15 senior opposition leaders, including incarcerated PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif and PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, to convince them to support the government on the merger of Gilgit-Baltistan, a disputed region between India and Pakistan, which was formerly a part of Jammu & Kashmir. Initial information about the meeting revealed that the opposition had assured the military authorities it would take up the issue for discussion after the election for Gilgit-Baltistan’s 'legislative assembly', which Pakistan has scheduled for November 15.