NEW DELHI: India has conveyed its protest to Pakistan over an order by that country’s supreme court allowing the conduct of general elections in Gilgit-Baltistan.
The Ministry of External Affairs said Pakistan was told that “entire Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including areas of Gilgit and Baltistan, are an integral part of India and that Islamabad should immediately vacate the areas under its illegal occupation.”
In a recent order, the Pakistan Supreme Court allowed the amendment to the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order of 2018 to conduct the general elections in the region.
“India demarched senior Pakistan diplomat and lodged a strong protest to Pakistan against Supreme Court of Pakistan order on the so-called ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’,” the MEA said in a statement.
“It was clearly conveyed that the entire Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including the areas of Gilgit and Baltistan, are an integral part of India by virtue of its fully legal and irrevocable accession,” it said.
The MEA said the government of Pakistan or its judiciary has no locus standi on territories “illegally and forcibly” occupied by it.
“India completely rejects such actions and continued attempts to bring material changes in Pakistan occupied areas of the Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir,” it said.
“Instead, Pakistan should immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation,” it added.
The MEA said Pakistan’s recent actions can neither hide the “illegal occupation” of parts of union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh by it nor the “grave human rights violations, exploitation and denial of freedom” to the people residing in these areas for the past seven decades.__Kashmir Observer