New Delhi: India on Friday lodged a strong protest over a recent order by Supreme Court of Pakistan on the so-called “Gilgit-Baltistan” which is interference in India’s internal affairs.
The Ministry of External Affairs summoned Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan in this regard, news agency ANI reported. “The Pakistani official was conveyed that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, which also includes the so-called ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’, “has been, is and shall remain an integral part of India”, the Ministry of External Affairs said.
MEA released a statement which read, “ Pakistan Government or judiciary have no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it. Any action to alter the status of these occupied territories by Pakistan has no legal basis whatsoever.”
The development came a day after Pakistan Supreme Court ordered the federal government to promulgate a new law within a fortnight to grant more rights, including fundamental human rights, to the people of Gilgit-Baltistan in PoK.
A seven-judge bench headed by Justice Saqib Nisar had issued a detailed order in response to several petitions filed against constitutional issues and previous reforms in the region.
Noting the international status of Kashmir, of which Gilgit-Baltistan is a part, the order said that “as and when the promised plebiscite is organized by the parties to the dispute, it will be up to the people of all of Jammu and Kashmir, and of Gilgit-Baltistan, to make their choice. It also said until the plebiscite, “it is surely incumbent upon both India as well as Pakistan to ensure that the people of this region enjoy maximum rights for areas within each country’s control.
Although under the control of Pakistan, India considers Gilgit-Baltistan a part of Jammu and Kashmir.
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. Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and Sindh are the four provinces of Pakistan.