New Delhi: India on Thursday termed as “entirely unacceptable” any possible attempt by Pakistan to declare the Gilgit-Baltistan region, bordering disputed PoK, as the fifth province.
Reacting sharply to reports that a committee headed by Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz has proposed status of a province to Gilgit-Baltistan, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Gopal Baglay said any such step would not be able to hide the illegality of Pakistan’s occupation of parts of Jammu and Kashmir which it must vacate, forthwith.
Noting that the issue pertains to the sovereignty of India, he said the government’s position is very well known on the matter.
“The entire state of J&K is an integral part, has been an integral part and will be an integral part of India. No attempt or unilateral attempt or step to change that would have any legal basis, whatsoever, and it will be entirely unacceptable.
“Any such step would not be able to hide the illegality of Pakistan’s occupation of parts of J&K which it must vacate, forthwith. It will also not be able to hide the tremendous, very concerning human rights violations and denial of freedom that has been going on in parts controlled by Pakistan for the last 70 years,” the spokesperson said.
Gilgit-Baltistan is treated as a separate geographical entity by Pakistan. It has a regional assembly and an elected chief minister. At present, Pakistan has four provinces — Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
It is believed that China’s concerns about the unsettled status of Gilgit-Baltistan prompted Pakistan to explore change in its status. Asked about Pakistan having expressed concern over acquittal of Assemanand in Ajmer Sharif blast case, Baglay said India completely rejects Pakistan’s “efforts and intention to meddle” in the country’s internal affairs, including in the Indian judicial process.
“We also totally reject the ulterior link which is sought to be established by Pakistan with any other matter under the purview of the Indian courts. A strong India democracy and justice system obviously need no self-serving sermons from anybody much less from a country like Pakistan,” he asserted.
Move unconstitutional: Dy CM
JAMMU: Against the backdrop of reports that Pakistan is all set to make Gilgit, Baltistan its province, Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh on Thursday said that both the regions and Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) are and will remain integral parts of India. Terming the step as unconstitutional, Dr Singh said, “It is also against the spirit of Shimla agreement.” “Pakistan had agreed to decide all Indo-Pak issues bilaterally, specially with regard to J&K, but they are violating the norms.
“There exists 1984 Resolution passed in Indian Parliament that Gilgit, Baltistan and PoK are part of India and that is the only outstanding issue with Pakistan,” Dr Singh added.
He said on one hand, Pakistan is trying at international fora to resolve the issue, but on the other hand, it is pushing the terrorists and creating violence in Jammu and Kashmir.
“It will not resolve the crisis but will further hamper the Indo-Pak relations,” the Deputy Chief Minister warned.
On Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti pitching for revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Dr Singh said, “Consideration can be given to the areas having peace and calm.” AFSPA withdrawal can be thought, only if peace prevails”, he added.
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