India on Monday lodged “strong protest” against the Pakistan Supreme Court’s order last week allowing elections to be held in Gilgit-Baltistan, and said that Pakistan’s institutions have “no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it”.
On April 30, Pakistan’s apex court had allowed the federal government’s application to amend the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order, 2018, to set up a caretaker government and conduct provincial Assembly elections.
In a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), India lodged “strong protest” through a démarche, that “clearly conveyed that the entire Union Territories of Jammu & 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”.
Stressing that Pakistan or its judiciary has “no locus standi” on these “illegally and forcibly occupied” territories, the statement said, “India completely rejects such actions and continued attempts to bring material changes in Pakistan-occupied areas of the Indian territory of Jammu & Kashmir”.
New Delhi also said that Pakistan’s 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”.
“Government of India’s position in the matter is reflected in the resolution passed by the Parliament in 1994 by consensus,” it added.
The Pakistan Supreme Court was approached by the Central government with the plea that the 2018 order has no provision for appointment of a interim setup and holding Assembly elections. The last elections in 2015 were held under the Gilgit Baltistan Order of 2009.
The current term of the provincial government was scheduled to expire in June, with the current provisions providing a period of 60 days to hold an election.