NEW DELHI: Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan are controlled by terrorists, not the Pakistani establishment, and constitute part of the “complete state” of Jammu and Kashmir, said Army chief General Bipin Rawat here on Friday.
“PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan (formerly known as the Northern Areas) are occupied territory – a territory which has been illegally occupied by our western neighbor,” said the Army chief, even as he warned Pakistan to desist from fueling cross-border terrorism and trying to disrupt normalcy in J&K.
Gen Rawat’s statement comes after some NDA ministers declared that their government “next agenda” after defanging Article 370 is to make PoK an integral part of India, even as India and Pakistan are currently engaged in fierce cross-border artillery duels that have peaked after India on August 5 abrogated the special status of J&K and decided to split the state into two Union Territories.
The Indian Army has recorded as many as 823 ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the 778 – km long Line of Control since August 5, with the overall number this year already crossing 2, 450 to break all annual records since 2003.
Speaking at the Field Marshal KM Cariappa memorial lecture, Gen Rawat said, “When we say Jammu & Kashmir, the complete state of J&K includes PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan… PoK is not controlled by the Pakistani establishment, it is controlled by terrorists. PoK is actually a terrorist-controlled country or a terrorist-controlled part of Pakistan. ”
Welcoming the defanging of Article 370, which originally conferred J&K with the power to have a separate constitution, a state flag and autonomy over the internal administration of the state, the Army chief said, “When Article 370 was brought in, it was clearly mentioned in sub-para 3 that it was temporary in nature. ”
“When Article 370 was introduced with the word temporary, there was no objection from Pakistan. Article 370 itself has been amended twice, where the leadership of J&K was first designated as Sadar-i-Riyasat, later it was changed to prime minister and then chief minister, ”he said, dismissing the way Pakistan has“ woken up ”now to“ raise the ante ”on Article 370.
Minister of state in the PMO, Jitendra Singh, had earlier said the biggest achievement of the Modi government in the first 100 days of its second term was the scrapping of the special status of J&K and “our next agenda” is to make PoK an integral part of India.
“It is not only my or my party’s commitment but a resolve of the unanimous resolution passed by Parliament in 1994 by the then Congress government, headed by PV Narasimha Rao. This is an accepted position, “he had said.