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Gilgit-Baltistan issue of great significance: Madhav

New Delhi, Oct 26: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national general secretary Ram Madhav has asserted that India attaches great significance to the issue of Gilgit Baltistan and the country’s claim to the region is stronger than Pakistan’s.

“Our case, as far as Gilgit Baltistan goes, is, even more, stronger for the important reason that when Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India, technically Gilgit Baltistan was an integral part of the then state of Kashmir and Jammu, under Maharaja Hari Singh and it was not annexed through any army encroachment,” Madhav said at a launch of a book ‘Gilgit-Baltistan and its saga of unending human rights violations’ in Delhi on Thursday.

“However, this strategically important region of Jammu and Kashmir was handed over to the then Pakistani rulers by two deceitful British officers. It was taken over without resistance and in an illegal manner. This area is of great significance to us as it acts as a gateway to Afghanistan and Central Asia” he added.

Madhav also pointed out that the international communities should take cognisance of the atrocities committed by the Pakistani establishment in the Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) and Gilgit Baltistan and that the propaganda machinery rolled out by the Pakistan government to incite violence in Jammu and Kashmir through sponsoring militants and proxies.

“A propaganda is being long unleashed by Pakistan and their proxies about Jammu and Kashmir by whitewashing the human rights violence committed by them in the PaK and Gilgit Baltistan. It is important for us to understand the real nature of the Pakistan administration. There has also been a concerted effort over the last 50 years to change the demography of Gilgit Baltistan. These are matters for the world at large to know,” Madhav stated.

Gilgit-Baltistan is a part of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir and has been under the control of Pakistan since 1947.