Pakistan summons India's Deputy High Commissioner over 'Gilgit-Baltistan' issue

Islamabad, PakistanUpdated: May 28, 2018, 04:42 PM IST

File photo. Photograph:(Zee News Network)

Pakistan on Monday summoned India's Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh and issued a demarche over the Indian statement that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, which also includes the so-called 'Gilgit-Baltistan' areas, is an integral part of India by virtue of its accession in 1947.

Pakistan Cabinet on May 21 approved Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018 which was also endorsed by the assembly for the region. The order is being seen as Pakistan's efforts towards incorporating the disputed region as its fifth province.

India on Sunday summoned Pakistan's Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah in New Delhi and lodged a strong protest over Islamabad's latest move, saying any action to alter the status of any part of the territory under its "forcible and illegal occupation" has no legal basis.

The Ministry of External Affairs said it conveyed to Shah that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, which also includes the so-called 'Gilgit-Baltistan' areas, is an integral part of India by virtue of its accession in 1947.

Commenting on India's remarks, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal today said that Singh was summoned on the issue. 

Faisal, who is also the Director General (South Asia & South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) issued the demarche to Singh.

Singh was summoned "to register Pakistan's categorical rejection of the Indian statement on the Gilgit Baltistan Order 2018 and its baseless, fallacious claim" over Kashmir, according to a statement issued by Faisal's office. 

It said a written demarche to this effect was also handed over to Singh.

The Foreign Office spokesman in a statement on Sunday claimed that the "Jammu and Kashmir was a disputed territory".

"Pakistan categorically rejects India's protest against the Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018 and its claim over Jammu & Kashmir as an 'integral part' of India. Everything from history to law to morality to the situation on the ground belies India's spurious claim," the spokesman said.

"These resolutions, pledging the right to self-determination to the people of Kashmir, were accepted by India, Pakistan and the international community," he said, referring to UN Security Council resolutions.

The spokesman said that Pakistan as a responsible member of the international community, had always taken steps consistent with UN Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir dispute.

"The latest measure is no exception, as its aim is to further empower the people of Gilgit and Baltistan. We will continue to abide by the UN Security Council resolutions until this dispute is finally resolved through peaceful means," he said.

Pakistan has bifurcated occupied Kashmir into two administrative parts - Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Gilgit-Baltistan was treated as a separate geographical entity by Pakistan till now. 

China's controversial $ 50 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through the disputed region.

It is believed that China's concerns about the unsettled status of Gilgit-Baltistan prompted Pakistan to change its status.