FO rejects Indian protest on GB order

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has strongly rejected and termed ridiculous Indian claim that Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) is part of Indian-Held Kashmir (IHK) and that the occupied valley was part of India.

The Spokesman for the Foreign Office, Dr Muhammad Faisal Sunday night said that instead of lodging so-called protest on Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018, India should end unlawful occupation of the IHK.

Earlier in the day, India summoned the Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah to protest against a recent Pakistan government order to change the status of Gilgit-Baltistan, Indian media reported .

India alleged that the entire state of Jammu & Kashmir was an integral part of India and Islamabad had no legal basis for its actions. “Any action to alter the status of any part of the territory under forcible and illegal occupation of Pakistan has no legal basis whatsoever, and is completely unacceptable. Instead of seeking to alter the status of the occupied territories, Pakistan should immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation,” the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said.

In an order on May 21, the Pakistan cabinet said Gilgit-Baltistan would enjoy the same rights as the other four provinces. “It (Cabinet) was also informed that with the devolution of greater administrative and financial powers to the government of Gilgit-Baltistan, all the rights will be available to the citizens in Gilgit-Baltistan as available to the people in other provinces of Pakistan,” said an official statement.

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