Separatists slam Pak's Gilgit-Baltistan move

Separatists slam Pak's Gilgit-Baltistan move

Separatists in Kashmir have termed Islamabad’s proposal to declare Gilgit-Baltistan as its fifth province unacceptable, saying that any such move would be tantamount to changing the “disputed nature of Kashmir”.

“Any proposal to declare Gilgit-Baltistan as (the) fifth state of Pakistan is unacceptable,” separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik said in a joint statement here.

They said the people of Jammu and Kashmir have always regarded and accepted the role of Pakistan as a party to the Kashmir issue. “But any step which may hamper the disputed status of Kashmir is unacceptable,” the statement said.

“Any deviation in Pakistan’s stance about Kashmir and its geographical entity is improper and will prove detrimental for the Kashmir cause,” it read.

The separatist trio said Kashmir, Ladakh, Jammu, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan is a single entity. “Unless and until the people of the state are provided an opportunity to decide the future course of the state through a  referendum, no division, alteration and changes are acceptable,” it said.

The leaders also said that both India and Pakistan have no authority or right to alter the geographical status of the state.

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