India flays nod for Gilgit-Baltistan polls
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Pak. SC allows govt. to hold elections
- The External Affairs Ministry issued a “strong protest” over an order by the Pakistan Supreme Court allowing the Imran Khan government to hold elections in the region of Gilgit-Baltistan of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
- India said it had issued a demarche to protest what it called Pakistan’s attempt to make “material changes” to the disputed area, by bringing federal authority to Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), which has functioned as a “provincial autonomous region” since 2009.
Centre issues demarche
- On April 30, a seven-judge Bench of the Supreme Court in Islamabad, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed, had allowed the government to organise general elections in G-B.
- 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 & Kashmir.
- Instead, Pakistan should immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation.
- Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) responded to the demarche by referring to the government’s decision in August last year to amend Article 370 as “illegal and in clear violation of UNSC resolutions”.
India’s reaction is consistent with its previous objections against elections in G-B and in other parts of PoK, which it refers to as “Azad Jammu Kashmir”.