New Delhi/Islamabad: The Centre on Sunday attacked Pakistan for “forcibly occupying” Gilgit-Baltistan and asked it to immediately vacate the land. This came after the Imran Khan-led Pakistan government declared the Indian territory of Gilgit-Baltistan as its provisional fifth province.Also Read - Sad! Indus River Gets Polluted With Trash, Ladakh MP Calls it 'Inhuman' | See PICS

“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,” a statement issued in New Delhi by the Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said. Also Read - 5 Extreme Destinations For The Brave-Hearted Traveller - Would You Dare to Visit?

The government reiterated 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. Also Read - Meet Padma Shri Awardee Chhultim Chhonjor, a Selfless Hero Who Single-handedly Built A 38 Km Road

Srivastava said that the Pakistan government has “no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied” by it. 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, he added.

The spokesperson said that instead of seeking to alter the status of these Indian territories, Indian government calls upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday announced that his government has decided to grant the “provisional-provincial status” to Gilgit-Baltistan, a part of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, illegally occupied by Pakistan in 1947.