New Delhi: Day after Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan announced the granting of provisional-provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan, India has said that Pakistan is intended to “camouflage the illegal occupation” of the region by Islamabad.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson 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.
“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,” a report by news agency PTI quoted Srivastava as saying.
He said the Government of Pakistan had no locus standi on territories “illegally and forcibly occupied” by it and that the latest move would not be able to hide the “grave human rights violations” in these Pakistan-administered territories.
“Instead of seeking to alter the status of these Indian territories, we call upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation,” he was quoted further saying.
On Sunday, Imran Khan announced the decision after arriving in the area to attend its 73rd Independence Day celebrations.
“One of the reasons for me coming to Gilgit-Baltistan is to announce that we have decided to grant Gilgit-Baltistan the provisional provincial status,” Pakistan based news agency APP quoted Imran Khan as having said.
“We have taken this decision keeping in mind the UN Security Council’s resolutions,” he added.
During his speech, Khan said that he could not announce or talk about the development packages for Gilgit-Baltistan since it would be a violation of the stated procedures as elections were about to take place in the area.
“However, I will tell you that it is our government’s foremost policy to uplift Pakistan’s poor that amount to 25% of the population and the country’s backward areas,” the report quoted him saying.
The Prime Minister said that one of the many reasons Gilgit-Baltistan remained backwards was because it was “cut off” from the rest of Pakistan. “Insha’Allah you will see in the coming days, our development plans will go there [backward areas],” he said.
Khan, according to the report, said that Pakistan is secure because of the country’s armed forces. Accusing India of targeting Muslims, the Pakistan PM said that the most “racist and Hindu supremacist government” in history was in power in India and the citizenship and registration laws have been enacted by the GoI to “target Muslims” in the country.
PM Imran said that he could not stress enough the importance of a strong army for a nation’s security. “Pakistan is secure today because of its armed forces,” he said. “Our army is the main reason why we haven’t suffered the same fate as many other Muslim countries,” the news agency quoted Khan saying during his speech.
He blamed India for “promoting sectarian hate” in Pakistan, saying that New Delhi was behind fanning hate between the Shia and Sunni sects in Pakistan. The Pakistan prime minister felicitated Pakistan’s intelligence agencies for rendering ineffective “India’s conspiracies” to spread anarchy in the country, the report mentioned.
Lashing out at the opposition parties in Pakistan, Khan said that “so-called democrats in the country were targeting the military and the judiciary”.
“Those who call themselves democrats have started a programme according to which they are discrediting the country’s judiciary and military,” the news agency quoted Khan as saying.
He blamed the Opposition for trying to establish the narrative that General Elections 2018 in Pakistan were rigged. After that, the prime minister said, they tried to blackmail him on the economy and the coronavirus situation, the report added.