Hours after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced provisional provincial status for Gilgit-Baltistan, India on Sunday said that Pakistan’s move to name Gilgit-Baltistan as its fifth province is meant to “camouflage its illegal occupation” of the area but it cannot “hide the grave human rights violations, exploitation and denial of freedom” to the people for over seven decades.
“We call upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said on Sunday.
Responding to the MEA, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement. “Pakistan categorically rejects Indian Ministry of External Affairs’ irresponsible and unwarranted statement regarding Gilgit-Baltistan,” it said.
Please see our statement on Pakistan Government’s decision to accord “provisional provincial status” to the so-called “Gilgit-Baltistan” : pic.twitter.com/8XzPT0aSFH
— Anurag Srivastava (@MEAIndia) November 1, 2020
Earlier this year, the Pakistan Supreme Court allowed the government to conduct elections in the region. The election will be held on November 15, Khan said.
“The Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including the area of so-called ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’, are an integral part of India by virtue of the legal, complete and irrevocable accession of Jammu and Kashmir to the Union of India in 1947,” said the MEA spokesperson.
Between words and actions of Islamabad
The government said it “firmly rejects” Pakistan’s attempt “to bring material changes to a part of Indian territory, under its illegal and forcible occupation”.
“Instead of seeking to alter the status of these Indian territories, we call upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation,” the spokesperson said.
Recently, Saudi Arabia, a key ally of Pakistan, had removed Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan from the Pakistan map on its new banknote after India asked it to take “urgent corrective steps” about the “gross misrepresentation”.
On the first anniversary of the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, the Pakistan government had released a new “political map” which included Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and parts of western Gujarat as part of its territory.
Describing it as “political absurdity” and a “ridiculous assertion”, New Delhi said it “confirms the reality of Pakistan’s obsession with territorial aggrandisement supported by cross-border terrorism”.
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