he Pakistan High Commissioner clarified to me that there is no change in Islamabad’s policy on the issue and that Gilgit-Baltistan would continue to remain the fifth region of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir,” Mirwaiz told Greater Kashmir soon after his meeting with Basit.
The Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Monday said Pakistan hasn’t changed its stand on Gilgit-Baltistan and the region shall continue to remain a part of disputed Jammu and Kashmir.
“I met Abdul Basit, the Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi, and had a detailed discussion on a series of issues including reports that Gilgit-Baltistan is being merged with Pakistan. The Pakistan High Commissioner clarified to me that there is no change in Islamabad’s policy on the issue and that Gilgit-Baltistan would continue to remain the fifth region of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir,” Mirwaiz told Greater Kashmir soon after his meeting with Basit.
Pertinently, JKLF chief Muhammad Yasin Malik and Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani had written letters to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif seeking clarification on media reports suggesting that Gilgit-Baltistan is being merged with Pakistan. The separatist leaders had asserted that if Pakistan would merge the region, New Delhi will have a justification to claim Kashmir as its “integral part.”
Mirwaiz said during the meeting, he welcomed the upcoming Foreign Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan and urged the Pakistan High Commissioner to ensure that Kashmir-specific Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) are discussed as well.
“I demanded that Kashmiris should feel the benefits of Indo-Pak dialogue to which Hurriyat extends its full support,” he said.
The Hurriyat chairman said he also told Basit that Kashmir should not be treated as a territorial or a border dispute. “I stressed that Kashmir needs to be dealt politically through a sustained engagement between India and Pakistan. I demanded inclusion of Kashmiris in the dialogue process for finding a solution acceptable to people of all five regions of the erstwhile princely state of J&K,” he said.
Mirwaiz said that he told the Pakistan High Commissioner that Pathankot attack should not become a hurdle in the dialogue between Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi.
Kashmir issue, the Mirwaiz said, is the main hurdle for peace in South Asia and its resolution is therefore a must.
“I also appreciated the stand and statement made by Prime Minister of Pakistan on February 5—Kashmir Solidarity Day—wherein he stressed on his Indian counterpart that future generations must feel the difference,” Mirwaiz said. “I told Basit that the constant support of Pakistan on diplomatic and other fronts has always been a morale booster for the people of Kashmir, who are fighting against the world’s largest military might.”
Mirwaiz also explained the frequent curbs being put on the Hurriyat leaders in Kashmir.
“I informed the Pakistan High Commissioner how J&K government on the directions of its stooges imposes restrictions on movement of pro-freedom leaders and prevents them from meeting people,” he said.
“Basit expressed his concern over the issue and stated that such harsh steps by the authorities were unacceptable and that the pro-freedom leaders must be allowed to reach out to people.”
Mirwaiz said Basit expressed serious concern over the “unabated human rights violations in Kashmir.”