ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan announced granting the provisional-provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan on Sunday as he arrived in the area to attend its 73rd Independence Day celebrations. The government has decided “to grant Gilgit-Baltistan the provisional provincial status which was a long-standing demand of the people of the region”, Khan proclaimed. The decision has been taken within the framework of UN Security Council resolutions, the premier added. During his speech, Khan also paid tribute “to GB scouts and those shuhada (martyrs) who sacrificed their lives for the freedom of the region”. Political activists said that they will sacrifice themselves but will not let Pakistan alter the status of the region. People from Gilgit-Baltistan, who have been living in other Pakistani towns, have also taken to the streets against Islamabad’s arbitrary decision. Gilgit- Baltistan, earlier known as Northern Areas has been governed by the “Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order of 2009”, which established an electoral framework. Elections have been held in the region under the Order that provides for only limited autonomy.