Azad Kashmir & Gilgit Baltistan - Time For Pakistan To Take Unilateral Action
By Sikander Hayat
Azad Kashmir borders the Indian-controlled state of Jammu and Kashmir to the east Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province to the west, Gilgit Baltistan to the north, and Pakistan's Punjab Province to the south. With its capital at Muzaffarabad, Azad Jammu and Kashmir covers an area of 13,297 square kilometres (5,134 sq mi) and has an estimated population of about four million.
In October 1947, Azad Kashmir was liberated from India. Azad Kashmir Day is celebrated in Azad Jammu and Kashmir on October 24, which is the day that the Azad Jammu and Kashmir government was created in 1947. Pakistan has celebrated Kashmir Solidarity Day on February 5 of each year since 1990 as a day of protest against India's de facto sovereignty over its State of Jammu and Kashmir.That day is a national holiday in Pakistan.
Azad Jammu and Kashmir is predominantly Muslim. The majority of the population is culturally, linguistically, and ethnically related to the people of northern Punjab. The principal languages spoken are Pahari, Gojri, Dogri, Potohari, Urdu, Kashmiri, Pashto, and Punjabi.
Urdu is the official language of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. However, due to the area's diverse cultural blend, many languages are spoken by different populations.
It is high time that Azad Kashmir should become the 5th province of Pakistan. Gilgit Baltistan should also be given the full provincial status and should become the 6th province of Pakistan. These two new province will get their share of seats in the federal assembly and senate. This act will empower the people of this region and make sure that there is no difference between these two regions and the rest of Pakistan. Pakistan cannot wait for India to leave the occupied Kashmir. Time has shown that India’s evil empire will keep the occupation no matter what the cost.
India has been taking many unilateral actions with regards to occupied Kashmir, it is high time that Pakistan did the same and by a two third majority in the federal parliament and provincial assemblies, declare Azad Kashmir & Gilgit Baltistan 5th & 6th provinces of Pakistan respectively. Give these two new federal components their full share in the national budget and include these two provinces in the Pakistani mainstream.
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