The Pakistan government on Thursday constituted a committee to review the legal status of the Gilgit-Baltistan region.
Known as the Northern Areas, Pakistan plans to announce Gilgit-Baltistan as its fifth province, a move that is being vehemently opposed by India.
The Pakistan government's move to constitute a 10-member committee came in the wake of an instruction of a seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice SaqibNisar in October to review the legal status of the region to bring it at par with other provinces of Pakistan.
The apex court's direction followed the recommendations of a special panel set up by the then Nawaz Sharif government for constitutional and administrative reforms in the territory.
A member of the bench wondered if India has given special status to Jammu and Kashmir by amending Article 370 of its Constitution, why Pakistan could not grant provisional provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan.
The court also observed that people of Gilgit-Baltistan are Pakistanis and should be given all rights.
The committee will suggest measures about how to give provisional provincial status to the region, which is disputed under the UN resolutions.
The apex court had given the instructions while hearing 32 identical petitions concerning the constitutional status of the disputed territory. The main constitutional petition was filed by the Gilgit-Baltistan Bar Council through its vice-chairman Javed Ahmed. PTI