Tensions between Pakistan and India rose again over the disputed region of Kashmir after Pakistan announced it was giving provisional provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan, the northern part of the region bordering China.
The two nuclear-armed neighbors once again refuted each other's claim over Kashmir. New Delhi termed the plan announced by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan to grant provisional provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan on November 1 as an illegal occupation, while Islamabad said India had no right to do so.
"India has no locus standi whatsoever on the issue -- legal, moral, or historical. For more than 73 years, India has been in illegal and forcible occupation of parts of Jammu and Kashmir," the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said in a statement late on November 1.
Administrative, political, and economic reforms are a longstanding demand of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. The envisaged provisional reforms reflect the aspirations of the indigenous populace of Gilgit-Baltistan, the statement said.
Amid the simmering row, the regional government welcomed Khan's announcement.
"It has been a longstanding and popular demand of the people," Faizullah Faraq, a spokesman for the chief minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, told dpa on November 2.
In August, Pakistan approved a new map showing the entire Kashmir region as part of the country and renamed a road in Islamabad Srinagar Highway after the capital of Indian-administered Kashmir.
Last year, India ended the semi-autonomous status of Kashmir, a predominantly Muslim area in the Himalayan valley controlled in parts by New Delhi and Islamabad but claimed by both in its entirety.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since they gained independence from Britain in 1947.