Pakistan, showing its usual disregard and insolence, has rejected India’s protest over the Gilgit Baltistan order. Commenting on the Indian protest, A Pakistani spokesperson stated, “Pakistan categorically rejects India’s protest against the Gilgit-Baltistan Order 2018 and its claim over Jammu and Kashmir as an ‘integral part’ of India. Everything from history to law to morality to the situation on the ground belies India’s spurious claim,”
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) summoned Pakistan’s deputy high commissioner Syed Haider Shah and lodged a protest against Pakistan’s “Gilgit Baltistan Order, 2018” earlier on Sunday.
The Gilgit- Baltistan Order had previously generated a lot of concern among politician and the general public alike in Gilgit-Baltistan. The Province till now has been given restricted autonomy under of Gilgit Baltistan Empowerment and Self Governance Order of 2009.
The new order seeks to replace the previous one. The civilian and political representatives of this province, cutting across political lines, see this as a measure by the Pakistani state which is discriminatory, authoritative and suppressive in nature.
The MEA commenting upon the illegal occupation of Gilgit-Baltistan by the Pakistani state and the unacceptable malicious nature of the order stated –
“The entire state of Jammu and Kashmir which also includes the so-called ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’ areas is an integral part of India by virtue of its accession in 1947. Any action to alter the status of any part of the territory under the 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 MEA on Sunday also commented about the futility of such an order by Pakistan in trying to hide the illegal occupation of the part of Jammu and Kashmir. The MEA also stated that Pakistan cannot “hide the illegal occupation of the part of Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan nor the grave human rights violations, exploitation and denial of freedom to the people residing in Pakistan occupied territories for the past seven decades.”
One member of the Gilgit Baltistan legislative assembly while talking to ANI reflected on the seriousness and unified opposing sentiment to the order. He said, “This has happened for the first time in the history of Gilgit-Baltistan that all MLAs cutting across party lines have come together for an issue. People ask as to why this didn’t happen in 2009? That time the situation was not same when GESA (Gilgit-Baltistan Empowerment and Self-Governance Order 2009) was promulgated then each party had individually pointed out the flaws in the act. Today also, the situation is same and we are watching wrong transpiring before us. Government is doing what is beneficial for it (not us). We believe, if the 2018 ordinance comes into force then Gilgit-Baltistan will never be able to rise,”
India has always maintained that Gilgit-Baltistan is an integral part of India and this move by Pakistan seems to be yet another ply to provoke India. How or whether this matter escalates will have to be observed in the next few days.