Pakistan-occupied Kashmir former ‘Prime Minister’ Sardar Attique Khan has condemned Prime Minister Imran Khan’s plan to merge Gilgit Baltistan with Pakistan and said the region is a part of Kashmir and not Pakistan.
Attique Khan warned that the recent move would compromise Pakistan’s stand that the future of the Jammu and Kashmir should be decided by a plebiscite under the UN as agreed by India and Pakistan.
“Gilgit Baltistan is a part of Kashmir. How can you (Pakistan government) touch it? You (Imran Khan) talked about UN resolution on Kashmir during your United Nations speech and then you try to include the region in Pakistan,” Attique said.
A wave of anger has swept towns and villages across the illegally occupied Gilgit Baltistan after the stooge administration launched a crackdown against the political activists, dissenting political leaders and anybody who hasn’t fallen in line with the arbitrary orders of the government.
People across the region have taken to streets and are demanding the immediate release of activists who have been falsely implicated and have been awarded rigorous punishment. Recently, Minister Ali Amin Gandapur said that the government has decided to elevate Gilgit-Baltistan to the status of a full-fledged province.
Preparations are underway to hold elections in the region and the PTI government has also taken the opposition on board to change the status of the region. Gilgit Baltistan assembly has passed a resolution in favour a provincial status for the region and demanded that it be made as the fifth province of Pakistan and grant all the rights as enjoyed by the people of other provinces.
The European Foundation for South Asian Studies had reported that the decision could be seen as Khan’s “belated response” to India’s moves to scrap Articles 370 and 35A. It said that decision to usurp Gilgit Baltistan could only have been made in Rawalpindi, not in Islamabad.
“More importantly, however, it is the constant Chinese pressure on the military establishment to ensure a proper legal cover under Pakistan’s legal jurisdiction for its investment in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which enters Pakistan from China through Gilgit Baltistan, that has forced the establishment to act,” the European think tank argued.
In response to Pakistan’s decision to usurp Gilgit Baltistan, India had responded strongly saying that “any action by Pakistan to alter the status of the militarily occupied so-called ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’ has no legal basis whatsoever and is totally void ab-initio. Our position has always been clear and consistent. The entire territories of the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have been and are an integral part of India and would remain so. Pakistan has no locus standi to comment on India’s internal matters.”