India opposes polls in Gilgit-Baltistan

India has lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over announcement of elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, saying that Pakistan has no locus standi on territories that have been illegally and forcibly occupied by it.

The government said Pakistan was carrying out cosmetic exercises intended to camouflage its illegal occupation.

Pakistan media had earlier reported that the Gilgit-Baltistan legislative assembly will go to polls on November 15.

“The Government of India has conveyed its strong protest to the Government of Pakistan and reiterated that the entire UTs of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including the areas of so-called Gilgit and Baltistan are an integral part of India by virtue of its accession in 1947,” the Centre said in a statement.

The MEA said India had ‘completely rejected the recent actions such as the so-called “Gilgit-Baltistan (for elections and caretaker government) Amendment Order 2020” and continued attempts by Pakistan to bring material changes in areas under its illegal and forcible occupation. Calling upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation, India said such actions can not hide grave human rights violations for past seven decades.

In a ruling earlier this year, Pakistan Supreme Court allowed Islamabad to amend a 2018 administrative order to conduct general elections in the region. The Gilgit-Baltistan Order of 2018 provided for administrative changes, including authorising the Prime Minister of Pakistan to legislate on an array of subjects.

Following the verdict, India issued a demarche to a senior Pakistani diplomat here and lodged a strong protest over the court ruling.

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