India has lodged a strong protest against Pakistan’s plan to hold elections in the Gilgit-Baltistan region, asserting that it is an integral part of India, and asked the latter to immediately vacate the area.India’s reaction comes after Pakistan’s Supreme Court recently allowed the Imran Khan government to conduct polls in the disputed area.“It was conveyed that the entire Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, including the areas of Gilgit and Baltistan, are an integral part of India under its fully legal and irrevocable accession. The Government of Pakistan or its judiciary has no locus-standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs said in a sharp statement on May 4.
It further said that “Such actions can neither hide the illegal occupation of parts of Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh by Pakistan nor the grave human rights violations, exploitation, and denial of freedom to the people residing in Pakistan-occupied territories for the past seven decades. The Government of India’s position in the matter is reflected in the resolution passed by Parliament in 1994 by consensus.”The Pakistan Supreme Court had recently allowed the amendment to the Gilgit-Baltistan Order of 2018 to conduct the polls in the region.“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.
Last year, the Indian government had revoked Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, paving the way for the creation of the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Announcing the decision, Home Minister Amit Shah had said that it will help provide better amenities and governance to the people of the region.
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