Kashmir protests Pak move for 5th province

Scores of Kashmiris took part in a protest outside the United Nations office in Srinagar, against the Pakistan government's proposed move to declare Gilgit-Baltistan as that country's fifth province.
Members of the South Asian Friends took to the streets in the city, carrying placards that stated that the area from Lakhanpur to Gilgit belonged to Kashmiris. They also shouted slogans against the Nawaz Sharif government.

Malik further said that their organisation intends to organise many more such protests against Pakistan for illegally occupying areas in Gilgit-Baltistan. Malik said they would present a memorandum to the UN office, asking them to prevent Pakistan from declaring Gilgit-Baltistan as its fifth province.

The Gilgit-Baltistan area is Pakistan's northernmost administrative territory that borders disputed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. A committee headed by Sartaj Aziz, the adviser to the prime minister on Foreign Affairs, has recommended that the region be given provincial status, reports GeoNews.

The area is seen as being significant to both Pakistan and China due to the $51 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that passes through the region. Pakistan's move to declare Gilgit-Baltistan as a fifth province has evoked strong reactions across Jammu and Kashmir. Several activists from the JK Kashmir forum protested against the move. “Jammu and Kashmir has its own importance as per the historical point of view but, unfortunately, large portions of land have been grabbed by China and Pakistan. So, we are here to spread awareness that it is our territory and we will not allow anyone to play dirty politics with our state,“ said forum leader Shoaib Lone.

Similar scenes were also witnessed in Pakistan occupied Kashmir's Muzaffarabad area, where the region saw one of the fiercest backlashes against the order. Lawyers in Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Gilgit demanded an amendment to the PoK interim Constitution Act 1974. Terming it a `dark move', the lawyers said that by carving out Gilgit from Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan was making their land available to the Chinese government for the CPEC.

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