Gilgit-Baltistan to become Pakistan's fifth province: Fawad Chaudhry

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Minister of Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry addressing a seminar at Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) in Islamabad. — Online/Files

Science minister Fawad Chaudhry on Sunday said that Gilgit-Baltistan would become Pakistan's fifth province, hours after Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that a provisional provincial status is being accorded to the region.

"One of the reasons for me coming to Gilgit-Baltistan is to announce that we have decided to grant Gilgit-Baltistan the provisional provincial status," the prime minister said during his visit to GB.

Speaking in Geo News programme "Naya Pakistan", the science minister said that it was inevitable to give equal rights to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan.

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Chaudhry said that several meetings had taken place to deliberate over the matter, adding that 90% of the legislation on the region is being done through consensus.

He said that PPP and PML-N wanted the process to kick start after the elections. "Wherever the Opposition thinks it can benefit from discord, it sows the seeds of discord."

Meanwhile, PPP Senator Sherry Rehman, speaking in the same show, backed Chaudhry's statement regarding the indigenous population's rights, saying that these must be granted to them.

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"People of Gilgit-Baltistan should get their rights, it is included in our manifesto," she said. She added, however, that the prime minister had not approached any one to deliberate over the matter.

Rehman said that there was a need to discuss the matter, however, no such discussion had taken place yet.