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Pakistan has to vacate PoK, Gilgit-Baltistan: India

LiveMint logoLiveMint 23-03-2017 PTI

New Delhi: The only issue of dispute between India and Pakistan as far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned is the illegal occupation of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan by Pakistan, the government on Thursday said.

Union minister Jitendra Singh reiterated India’s demand that Pakistan should vacate illegal occupation of these areas. Singh’s sharp remarks came in response to Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit favouring resolution of Kashmir dispute as per the “aspirations of Kashmiris”. Basit was speaking at an event at the high commission in New Delhi on Thursday to mark Pakistan’s national day.

Talking to reporters outside Parliament, Singh said “Today if there is any issue between India and Pakistan on J&K, it is only the illegal occupation by Pakistan, whether it is PoK or Gilgit-Baltistan”. He also added, “How it can be freed from Pakistan’s occupation and made a part of the Indian republic...that is the only issue now”.

Singh said India’s position has been clear for many years now and in 1994, a resolution (on the issue) was also passed in Parliament which all political parties had supported.

Basit had said the aspirations of people “can be suppressed but not quelled and I hope the struggle of the Kashmiris will prove successful”. Kashmir has remained a longstanding unresolved issue between the two countries causing acrimony on both sides.

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