Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday announced his government's decision to accord 'provisional provincial status' to Gilgit Baltistan, a part of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK). Gilgit Baltistan is part of undivided Jammu and Kashmir which acceded to India.
While addressing a rally in Giligit on Sunday, Pakistan PM Imran Khan said, "a strong army is indispensable for a country to protect its sovereignty and solidarity."
He also made attempts to use the announcement to defend the Pakistani establishment which has come under attack by the opposition alliance, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).
This comes days after Pakistan announced elections for Gilgit Baltistan in December. India has registered its strong opposition to the move.
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
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said actions like holding of elections in "so-called Gilgit-Baltistan" legislative assembly next month can neither hide the "illegal occupation" of parts of Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh by Islamabad nor the "grave human rights violations and exploitation" of people in this region.
In response to media queries on remarks by Pakistani Prime Minister over his government's decision to accord, MEA official spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said, "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."
"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 Government of Pakistan has no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it," Srivastava added.
The MEA spokesperson went on to say, "Such attempts by Pakistan, intended to camouflage its illegal occupation, cannot hide the grave human rights violations, exploitation and denial of freedom for over seven decades to the people residing in these Pakistan occupied 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.”