June 2020 News

Pak Rejects India's Concerns Over Reports Of Destruction Of Buddhist Heritage In Gilgit-Baltistan

4 June 2020
Sajjad Hussain

Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday rejected India's concerns over reports of vandalism and destruction of the Buddhist heritage in Gilgit-Baltistan, saying they were 'preposterous.' India on Wednesday conveyed its strong concern to Pakistan over reports of 'vandalism, defacement and destruction of invaluable Indian Buddhist heritage located in the so-called Gilgit-Baltistan area of the Indian territory under illegal and forcible occupation of Pakistan.' External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava in New Delhi said 'egregious activities' of this nature displaying contempt for the ancient civilisational and cultural heritage are 'highly condemnable'. He said Pakistan must vacate the illegally occupied territory which belonged to India. Srivastava, replying to a media query on the issue, said India has sought immediate access for its experts to visit the area in order to restore and preserve the invaluable archaeological heritage. On Thursday, the Foreign Office said that the Indian government's contentions concerning the Buddhist cultural heritage in Gilgit-Baltistan are 'preposterous' and are part of 'anti-Pakistan propaganda.' 'The Indian allegations are contrary to the historical facts, international law and relevant UN Security Council Resolutions,' the FO said in a statement. 'The regurgitation of false and preposterous Indian claims does not change the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir,' it claimed. The Foreign Office also accused India of 'distorting' the recent Report of the UN Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team (MT) on terrorism to 'slander' Pakistan and create 'complications' for the Afghan peace process. According to the report, Pakistan-based terror groups Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Taiba are engaged in trafficking fighters into Afghanistan who are threatening to derail the peace process in the war-torn country. India on Tuesday asserted that the UN report has vindicated its long-standing position that Pakistan remained the epicentre of international terrorism, saying terrorist entities and individuals continue to enjoy safe havens in that country. 'Pakistan categorically rejects India's malicious allegations, which are aimed at misleading the international community,' the FO said. It claimed that the report is based on briefings provided in Afghanistan to the MT by certain quarters who have long expressed skepticism about the Afghan peace process and said Islamabad has warned the world about the role of 'spoilers' within and outside the war-torn nation. 'Pakistan has proposed the listing of several Indian terrorism facilitators on the UN Security Council's terrorism list along with evidence of their involvement in terrorism. We hope the Security Council will designate them soon,' it added.