Pakistan decided to give greater administrative and financial authority to POK

Vastavam web: Pakistan’s top civil and military leaders have decided to give greater administrative and financial authority to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, the region through which the controversial USD 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes.During a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) – the top civil and military body – Sartaj Aziz, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission and the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs & Gilgit-Baltistan, yesterday briefed the Committee on the PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan reform proposals, an official statement said.However, there was also consensus over retention of the PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan Councils as advisory bodies; and the grant of a five-year tax holiday to Gilgit-Baltistan so as to create adequate incentives for the development of the region and bring it at par with the other areas of Pakistan.

Gilgit-Baltistan is treated as a separate geographical entity by Pakistan. Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh are four provinces of Pakistan.India has termed as “entirely unacceptable” any possible attempt by Pakistan to declare the Gilgit-Baltistan region, bordering the disputed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, as the fifth province. India has protested to China over the CPEC which goes through Gilgit-Baltistan region.The NSC also endorsed that FATA shall be merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa along with the introduction of the administrative and judicial institutional structures and laws of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the statement said.The Committee directed the concerned ministries to work out the constitutional, legal and administrative modalities for the merger in consultation with all parties in the Parliament.