India opposes Pakistan’s move to conduct elections in Gilgit-Baltistan

New Delhi (NVI): India today opposed Pakistan’s plans to conduct elections in Gilgit-Baltistan on November 15, saying that the Imran Khan government has no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it.

India has also slammed the Pakistan government for its intentions to make material changes in areas under its illegal occupation and make Gilgit-Baltistan its fifth province.

Pakistan plans to hold an election for the so-called legislative assembly of Gilgit-Baltistan on November 15, following which it will move towards making the region a full-fledged province.

“We have seen reports regarding announcement of elections to the so-called ‘Gilgit-Baltistan’ Legislative Assembly to be held on November 15, 2020. The Government of India has conveyed its strong protest to the Government of Pakistan and reiterated that the entire Union Territories 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 Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

MEA said that India has also completely rejected the recent actions such as the so-called “Gilgit-Baltistan (Elections and Caretaker Government) Amendment Order 2020” and continued attempts by the Pakistan establishment to bring material changes in areas under its illegal and forcible occupation.

“Action such as these 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 External Affairs Ministry said.

The Ministry added that Pakistan’s efforts like these are cosmetic exercises intended to camouflage its illegal occupation.

India has called upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation.

In recent weeks, Pakistan has repeatedly raised its “fabricated narrative” on Kashmir at international platforms such as UN but India has exposed Islamabad on the status of Gilgit-Baltistan, part of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

-ARK