Pakistan’s 39-yr-old NSA a key player in army’s Gilgit move that suits China

Web Team : Karachi

Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has fronted Pakistan’s exercise to create a province in disputed Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) in the occupied Northern Areas, holding a quiet meeting with the country’s politicians on the topic before a minister went public with Islamabad’s plans last week. 

But the army, people familiar with the matter said, isn’t driving the creation of the fifth province alone.

A 39-year-old has also been hard at work. Moeed W Yusuf.

Yusuf, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan on National Security Division and Strategic Planning, has been a principal player in Islamabad’s decision to revoke the notional autonomy granted to Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and incorporate the disputed region as one of Pakistan’s five provinces, Pakistan watchers in New Delhi said, describing Pakistan’s young National Security Adviser as one of the project’s key driving forces.

Gilgit-Baltistan’s assimilation into the Islamic Republic works well with China that has poured billions of dollars - even if much of it is a loan - into the China Pakistan Economic Corridor to build an alternative supply route to the choked, and vulnerable Malacca Strait, the main shipping channel between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. The army has scaled up its presence in the GB region over the years to secure the CPEC that has faced some opposition from locals over concerns that it destroys the environment, culture and social fabric without much benefit to the people.

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