India rejects Pak move

India on Sunday slammed Pakistan for its attempt to accord provincial status to the “so-called Gilgit-Baltistan”, saying it is intended to camouflage the “illegal” occupation of the region by Islamabad.

Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Anurag Srivastava said India “firmly rejects” the attempt by Pakistan to bring material changes to a part of Indian territory which is under Islamabad’s “illegal and forcible occupation” and asked the neighbouring country to immediately vacate such areas. Srivastava’s response came following a media query about Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s comments in Gilgit on Sunday about his government’s decision to accord “provisional provincial status” to the Gilgit-Baltistan region.

“I reiterate that 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,” the MEA spokesperson said. He said the government of Pakistan has no locus standi on territories “illegally and forcibly” occupied by it and that the latest move will not be able to hide the “grave” human rights violations.