The Modi government has taken the historic decision of abrogating Article 370 of the Constitution of India that gave special status to the state of Jammu & Kashmir. This political reform came after decades of popular opinion against the controversial provision. The Parliament of India has also passed a Bill that has bifurcated the state into two Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir. The move had left Pakistan agitated and frustrated. It soon started meddling in India’s affairs and Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s remarks reeked of the desperate state that Pakistan is in.
Now, in what is bound to further agonise the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Gilgit-Baltistan activist Senge H Sering has lauded the decision taken by the Modi government and has also demanded that India should provide representation to the Gilgit-Baltistan region in its Parliament in order to further strengthen its claim on its territory. The previous state of Jammu & Kashmir and the newly carved out Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir both have provisions for representation for the representation of the people of the Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir (PoK) region with 24 seats reserved for the region. Now, Sering has justly demanded that India should also provide Parliamentary representation to the region. The activist said, “Home Minister Amit Shah has said that PoJK is an integral part of J&K. We believe Gilgit-Baltistan is an integral part of J&K. We are extension of Ladakh & we ask for our rights in constitutional framework of India.”
It must be noted that during the Lok Sabha debate on the resolution abrogating Article 370 and the bifurcation bill, Shah made it clear that Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Aksai Chin are integral parts of Jammu & Kashmir. He asserted, “We are ready to give our lives for it.” The Union Home Minister said, “Kashmir is an integral part of India, there is no doubt about it. When I say Jammu and Kashmir, I include Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin, both are included in the territorial boundaries of Jammu and Kashmir.” He added, “Ladakh, including Aksai Chin, will be a Union Territory. Both Hill Councils will continue to be active.”
Gilgit-Baltistan demanding Parliamentary representation in India expresses the political aspirations of the people of the region, that is a legitimate part of India’s territory currently under the illegal occupation of Pakistan.