India has strongly protested against amendments to the interim Constitution of the territory that Pakistan calls “Azad Jammu and Kashmir”, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Monday. The territory is part of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
“India has conveyed a strong protest through diplomatic channel today against the so-called ‘Azad Jammu and Kashmir Interim Constitution (13th Amendment) Act 2018’,” a statement from the ministry read. “It was clearly conveyed that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, which also includes the so-called ‘Azad Jammu and Kashmir’ is an integral part of India by virtue of its accession in 1947.”
“Any action to alter the status of any part of the territory under forcible and illegal occupation of Pakistan has no legal basis whatsoever, and is completely unacceptable,” the ministry added. “Instead of seeking to alter the status of the occupied territories, Pakistan should immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation.”
The amendment, which was passed earlier this month, abolished the administrative and financial powers of the council that governs the region, PTI reported, adding that this reduced it to an advisory body.
The statement came just weeks after India summoned Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner Syed Haider Shah to protest against Islamabad’s move to provide more political and administrative powers to the Gilgit-Baltistan provincial government, a region described as part of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.