New Delhi: India on Sunday snubbed Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in unambiguous words for his statement of Gilgit-Baltistan and said such attempts cannot help Islamabad "hide the grave human rights violations" and "denial of freedom" 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," MEA spokesman Anurag Srivastava said.
"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," the MEA spokesman said in response to media queries.
“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," he said.
The remarks from MEA spokesman came close on the heels of Imran Khan 'officially announcing' the provincial status of Gilgit-Baltistan which New Delhi has always asserted is part of 'Pakistan-occupied Kashmir or PoK'.
Formerly known as Northern Areas, the Gilgit-Baltistan was earlier governed with limited autonomy under the provision of law granted by the “Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order".
Imran Khan also said the decision to turn the region into a federal-government the province was done on “keeping in mind" the UN Security Council’s resolutions.
In fact, the fresh round of Shia-Sunni sectarian violence in Pakistan was used by the beleaguered Imran Khan regime to impose the central authority's decision.
MEA spokesman Srivastava said - "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, he asserted.
The Imran Khan regime is faced with administrative and political challenges as Maulana Fazlur Rehman, chief of Pakistan’s 11-party opposition alliance, the Pakistan Democratic Movement, is firmly opposing the move.
“A deal has been made over the blood of Kashmiris... Business is being done in the name of Kashmir diplomacy,” the cleric had said.
Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has slammed the Pakistan government stating that the people of Gilgit-Baltistan will overwhelmingly vote against the candidates of what he said was the puppet 'Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)' in the Nov 15 elections.
"Today people from every section of the society are protesting against Imran Khan and his policies as his government has brought poverty, hunger, price hike and unemployment to Pakistan," Zardari has been quoted in a leading Pakistani newspaper.