China mum over Pakistan's plan on Gilgit-Baltistan

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India yesterday termed as "entirely unacceptable" any possible attempt by Pakistan to declare the Gilgit-Baltistan region, bordering the disputed Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, as the fifth province.

In a joint statement on Friday, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik said.

Leaders in an issued statement suggested and asked Pakistan to show wisdom and desist from such steps which may hamper the political and geographical position of Jammu & Kashmir.

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"We hail the role of Pakistan regarding the issue in global flora, however any deviation in its stance about Kashmir and its geographical entity is improper & will prove detrimental for Kashmir cause", they said. "Unless and until the people of state are provided an opportunity to decide the future course of state through referendum, no division, adjustment and changes are acceptable. Neither India nor Pakistan have any authority or right to alter the state's geographical status", the spokesperson said.

The Hurriyat's objection follows Chinese concerns over its investment in multi-billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor which connects its Xinjiang region with Gwadar port, running through the areas of Kashmir contested between India and Pakistan.

"The committee recommended that Gilgit-Baltistan should be made a province of Pakistan", said Pirzada.

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The leaders expressed their serious concern over proposal by Pakistan to declare Giglit Baltistan as fifth province of the country.

Reacting to Pakistan's move, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Gopal Baglay reiterated that the entire Jammu and Kashmir will always remain an integral part of India. "A part of Jammu and Kashmir has been under illegal occupation of Pakistan".

Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh are the four provinces in Pakistan.

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Protesting against Pakistan's decision, the lawyers hit the streets on March 18, saying it's a dark move by the Sharif government to use land for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

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