Baseless Report: Pakistan31 August 2010
Islamabad: Pakistan on Tuesday described as “baseless' The New York Times article suggesting that Islamabad had given over de facto control of Gilgit-Baltistan to China. “There are no Chinese troops in Gilgit-Baltistan as claimed in the story,' said Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit. The article was written by Selig S. Harrison, director of the Asia Programme at the Centre for International Policy. Further, according to Mr. Basit, “given Mr. Harrison's well known anti-Pakistan mindset, his gross misinterpretation of facts is hardly surprising'. In a related statement, Director General of Inter Services Public Relations Athar Abbas described the article as factually incorrect. “These are Chinese civilians who have brought relief goods for people of the area and want to help in the repair and reconstruction of the Karakoram Highway. The story is fabricated with a mala fide intent.' Also, the ISPR has welcomed Mr. Harrison to visit the area and take a look for himself. “If Mr. Harrison sees a ‘red herring' around from so far away, he is welcome to come and see for himself how green the Valley is.' Over a fortnight ago, President Asif Ali Zardari and then Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi had informed that Pakistan had asked China to provide assistance to 27,000 families to the north of the Attabad lake in Gilgit-Baltistan as that area was inaccessible from the rest of the country.