Foreign Office summons senior Indian diplomat to reject its claim on Gilgit-Baltistan
Dismissing recently voiced Indian Army allegations that the Pakistan Army is operating terrorist launch pads at the Line of Control (LoC), Inter-Services Public Relations Director-General Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar on Monday slammed such statements as “baseless” and “non-serious.”
Addressing recently issued hostile statements by India, Iftikhar said Delhi’s violations across the LoC were increasing with each passing day. “The situation at the LoC is turning serious,” he said. “The Indian leadership is making non-serious allegations against Pakistan,” he said. “India has its own satellites. Tell us, where is the proof [of launch pads]?” he added.
Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, Army Chief Gen M.M. Naravane and other senior military officials have in recent days alleged that Pakistan is operating terrorist launch pads on its side of the LoC, and attempting to infiltrate into the Indian side.
In his press conference, the Army spokesman invited international observers to visit the LoC to witness whether the Indian claims were true or false. He said India was trying to blame Pakistan for its internal problems, referring to ongoing protests against a controversial citizenship legislation that targets the Muslim minority. The ISPR spokesman noted that an American commission had highlighted that it was in fact India that was committing atrocities against its minorities.
Referring to India’s blame game policy, Iftikhar said that the country always accused Pakistan of anything that went wrong there. “It is a ridiculous claim that Pakistan has contributed to the spread of the coronavirus in India,” he said, referring to an earlier allegation that Islamabad was sending people infected with COVID-19 to India-held Kashmir.
Discussing Pakistan’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, the ISPR spokesman said the armed forces were providing “back up support” to civil institutions. He said the Army was providing help to the government to ensure implementation of its directives.
Also on Monday, Pakistan’s Foreign Office summoned a senior Indian diplomat to convey Islamabad’s rejection of Delhi’s “baseless and fallacious contention” that Pakistan cannot hold elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, as ordered by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
In a statement, it said that “it was clearly conveyed that the Indian claim over the occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir as an ‘integral part’ of India had no legal basis whatsoever.” It said that all of Jammu and Kashmir was an internationally recognized “disputed” territory and had remained on the UNSC’s outstanding agenda since 1947. “No subsequent illegal and unilateral Indian actions could or have altered the status of Jammu and Kashmir as a disputed territory,” it added.
“The only resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute was faithful implementation of the relevant UNSC Resolutions that recognize the Kashmiris’ inalienable right to self-determination,” read the Foreign Office statement, adding that pending the resolution of the dispute, any unilateral Indian actions were illegal. “In this regard, it was reiterated the Indian unilateral actions of Aug. 5, 2019 and subsequent attempts to alter the demographic structure of Jammu and Kashmir, in violation of the 4th Geneva Convention, were illegal and in clear violation of the UNSC Resolutions.”
According to the statement, the Indian diplomat was also informed that “the baseless Indian contention about Gilgit-Baltistan could neither cover up the atrocities being perpetrated by the Indian occupation forces against innocent, unarmed Kashmiris in IOK [India-Occupied Kashmir], nor could they succeed in diverting the attention of the international community from the Indian state terrorism and aggravating human rights situation in IOJ&K [India-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir].”
The Foreign Office also called on the Government of India to immediately reverse “all of its illegal actions in IOJ&K, including ending illegal occupation of the territory.”
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs had earlier issued a “strong protest” over an order by the Supreme Court of Pakistan allowing Islamabad to hold elections in Gilgit-Baltistan. It said it had issued a demarche to protest what it called Pakistan’s attempt to make “material changes” to the disputed area by placing the region under federal authority.