In keeping with the developments of the past two years, the Pakistan government has leased land in Gilgit-Baltistan to China for 30 years to work on a few projects whose security the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China has taken charge of.
Some of those are hydel works, railway projects, tunnels for the railways and roads.
“Pakistan and China have come to an understanding where land in the disputed territory of Gilgit Baltistan has been leased to China and the PLA has taken over its security,” a senior army official who monitors the situation in Gilgit-Baltistan closely told HT.
“Earlier, the army had information on the presence of the PLA in Gilgit-Baltistan but now it has (transpired) that Pakistan has leased land to China for 30 years to work on a few projects important for Pakistan and China,” the officer added.
Gilgit-Baltistan, formerly known as the Northern Areas, was part of the princely state of Kashmir but after partition Pakistan occupied the area.
In 1963, Pakistan had ceded to China PoK’s 5,180 square km for the Karokaram highway.