'Self-rule' in Gilgit-Baltistan demanded

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Rawalpindi, May 7 : Balawaristan National Front (BNF), a nationalist organisation of Gilgit-Baltistan, has demanded self-rule for the region, dissolution of the Northern Areas' Legislative Assembly, and holding of elections for a constituent assembly to draft a constitution for the region.

In a statement, BNF chairman Abdul Hamid Khan condemned the rulers for violating human rights of the two million people of the region and treating them as their colonial subjects.

He alleged that successive governments of PPP and PML-N had been claiming that they were not allowed to complete their tenures otherwise they could have solved the issue of Gilgit-Baltistan. Now the PPP and the PML-N have formed a coalition government and should not make any further excuse and resolve the issue, the Dawn quoted Khan as saying in the statement.

Khan said for the last over six decades people of the region had been kept deprived of their basic rights, and stressed on the need to ensure an independent judiciary in the region so that people could be provided justice.

He recalled that recently federal minister Qamaruz Zaman Kaira had visited Gilgit and stated that the issue of giving provincial status to the region was a sensitive one. Endorsing the minister's viewpoint, Khan said that Pakistan could neither separate Gilgit-Baltistan from the issue of Kashmir, nor make the region its province before resolution of the Kashmir issue.

However, Islamabad can give a special provincial status and Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir-type setup to the area without any hindrance.

ANI

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