Resistance Leadership Warn Pakistan Against ‘Annexing’ Gilgit-Baltistan

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Srinagar: Joint ‘Resistance’ leadership of Kashmir Friday flayed a reported proposal by Islamabad to declare Gilgit-Baltistan as Pakistan’s fifth province, and asked it to desist from embarking on a needless “adventure of annexation”.

‘Resistance Troika’ which includes moderate and hardline separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, issued a joint statement terming any proposal to declare Giglit-Baltistan as the fifth state of Pakistan “unacceptable”.

“Kashmir, Ladakh, Jammu, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan are a single entity,” they said, adding that the political destiny of Jammu and Kashmir was yet to be decided. The separatist leaders also asked Pakistan to not take steps that could hamper the political and geographical position of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik expressed hope that Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will fulfil his commitment regarding the geographical entity of Jammu and Kashmir, and will desist from undertaking this adventure of annexing Giglit-Baltistan as the fifth state of Pakistan,” the statement said.

The separatist leaders said though the people of Kashmir have always accepted Pakistan as a “prime party” in the territorial dispute, any step that could hamper its disputed status was unacceptable. “We hail the role played by Pakistan in international forums, but any deviation in its stance on Kashmir and its geographical entity is improper and will prove detrimental to the cause,” the statement added.

No divisions, alterations or changes were acceptable until the residents of Kashmir have been provided with an opportunity to decide the future course of the state, they said, adding that neither India nor Pakistan have the right to alter the geographical status of the region.

The separatist leaders also termed India’s stand on the issue as a “brazen lie”. The country has no right to claim or issue “ridiculous statements” because it has forcibly occupied the state, they said.

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