INDIA ON Thursday criticised Pakistan’s reported efforts to declare Gilgit-Baltistan — also known as the Northern Areas — as Pakistan’s fifth province and described the move as “illegal” and “completely unacceptable”.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Gopal Baglay said, “The entire state of Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India in 1947. It has been, is and will always be an integral part of India. A part of Jammu and Kashmir has been under illegal occupation of Pakistan. Any unilateral step by Pakistan to alter the status of that part will have no basis in law and will be completely unacceptable.”
He added, “I must also say that such a step will not camouflage the illegality of Pakistan’s occupation of parts of Jammu and Kashmir and the gravely concerning and serious human rights violations there (in Northern Areas), as well as denial of democracy to the people there.”