Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 1
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has criticised Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s promise at an election rally in Gilgit-Baltistan to provide it “provisional province status”.
Khan was addressing his first rally in Gilgit-Baltistan against objections by local opposition leaders who have said his arrival with several federal ministers is an attempt to unduly influence the election.
“The Government of India firmly rejects the attempt by Pakistan to bring material changes to a part of Indian territory, under its illegal and forcible occupation. The UTs of J&K 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 J&K to the Union of India in 1947,” said MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava in response to a media query on the Pakistan PM’s observations.
Srivastava said such attempts by Pakistan were intended to camouflage its illegal occupation. But it cannot hide the Pakistan state’s human rights violations, exploitation and denial of freedom for over 70 years to the people living in these “Pakistan occupied territories’’.
The MEA advised Pakistan to immediately vacate these territories instead of seeking to alter their status.