India, reacting strongly to the newly-elected chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan declaring the region Pakistan’s “fifth province,” said the area was part of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India by virtue of its accession to India in 1947. Any action to alter the status of any part of the territory under the illegal occupation of Pakistan has no legal basis, and is completely unacceptable,” external affairs ministry spokesman Vishnu Prakash said on Friday.
The Indian reaction came amid reports quoting Gilgit-Baltistan’s first CM, Mehdi Shah, saying the recent November elections meant the region was a separate province and had “no connection to Kashmir”.
Pakistani analysts, however, felt India was overreacting.
Imtiaz Gul of the Center for Research and Security Studies, said Gilgit-Baltistan enjoys a special status, “nothing more.” The legislative assembly may be elected, but cannot pass laws.
The first elections in the region were held based on the Pakistan cabinet’s Gilgit-Baltis-tan Empowerment and Self Governance Order, August 2009.