‘Don’t merge Gilgit-Baltistan into Pakistan’

Islamabad, July 9 (IANS) Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) Prime Minister Chaudhry Abdul Majeed has warned Islamabad against any attempt to convert Gilgit-Baltistan into a federal province.

“Gilgit-Baltistan is part and parcel of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Any attempt to merge it into Pakistan will deal a fatal blow to our stand in the light of UN resolutions envisaging right to self-determination for the Kashmiris,” Dawn quoted Majeed as saying in at a press conference in Muzffarabad.

Earlier, some Kashmiri leaders have expressed concern over alleged moves to convert Gilgit-Baltistan into the fifth province of Pakistan.

On Tuesday, PoK President Sardar Mohammad Yaqoob Khan warned that such a step would be more damaging than the dismemberment of the country in 1971.

“I call upon the prime minister of Pakistan to avoid (taking) any decision that does not fall in his jurisdiction. He cannot take this decision unless we, the people of Jammu and Kashmir, take it,” Majeed said.

Recalling that Gilgit-Baltistan had been given in the administrative control of Pakistan on a temporary basis, he advised Islamabad not to think beyond that.

“On behalf of over 17.5 million Kashmiris, I warn you (Islamabad) to change your thoughts. Or else, there will be severe reaction,” he said.

Answering a question, he said it was the responsibility of the PoK parliamentary committee to seek the consent of the prime minister of Pakistan and the minister for Kashmir affairs in order to carry out constitutional amendments “smoothly and amicably”.

Majeed said the role and responsibilities of the government of Pakistan under the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (Uncip) resolutions should not be negated. “With this in mind, there is no harm in talking to them,” he said.

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