ISLAMABAD REUTERS Nov 1 - Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday his government will give provisional provincial status to part of Kashmir, drawing condemnation from India, which has long objected to any such changes by Islamabad. Khan’s proposal would apply to Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan’s only land link to China, which is the northern part of the larger Kashmir region. Both Delhi and Islamabad have claimed all of Kashmir since gaining independence 73 years ago, and have fought two wars over the territory.
“We have made a decision to grant provisional provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan, which has long been the demand here,” Khan said in a speech in the city of Gilgit.
Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Shri Anurag Srivastava said Delhi “firmly rejects the attempt by Pakistan to bring material changes to a part of Indian territory, under its illegal and forcible occupation.” Last year India angered Pakistan by announcing changes to the status of Kashmir, taking away some of the region’s privileges.