Gilgit-Baltistan Part Of JK: PaK President

19 November 2015
Greater Kashmir
Tariq Naqash

Muzaffarabad: Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) President Sardar Muhammad Yaqoob Khan has said that Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) were part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and any change in this position could deal a blow to the stand of Kashmiris as well as Pakistan on the lingering dispute. 'I have always spoken for the rights of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, but it's not an appropriate time to discuss proposals that can dent our principled stand on Kashmir issue,' he said, while talking to a delegation of Capital Journalists Forum here the other day. 'Instead, we should devote ourselves to the settlement of the larger issue, which has far reaching benefits more for Pakistan than the Kashmiris,' he added. He recalled that during his visit to the US to attend OIC contact group meeting, Sartaj Aziz, advisor to PM Pakistan on foreign affairs, told him that a committee was being constituted on Gilgit-Baltistan status issue, but his (Khan's) response was that this issue should not be discussed here. 'Back home, I didn't hear anything from him,' he said and denied that he had attended any meeting on GB in the Foreign Office. 'If I happen to meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, I will ask him why this contentious issue is being raised at this particular point of time,' he said. On domestic politics, he said he might step down from his office after the announcement of election schedule to take part in polls, due by mid-2016. 'Honestly speaking, I was in no mood to contest (next) elections, but when I went into the public I got an otherwise message. And I think my (Pakistan Peoples') party leadership also wants me to take part in polls,' he said. 'I will go by whatever decision is taken by my party,' he added. Khan said there was also an impression that Peoples Party had either weakened or was in crisis. 'Whether right or wrong, but when any number of people say so, I cannot help but make up my mind to go to them (for direct election). One has to stand by the parties in crisis.' 'I believe that we will return to power (in PaK) with a clear majority,' he asserted. Khan said he considered himself as a junior most political worker, but the trust of leadership and public in him was what made him more buoyant and self-assured.