India on Monday issued a demarche to a Pakistani diplomat to lodge a strong diplomatic protest against the country’s Supreme Court order allowing general elections in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Jammu and Kashmir. The Ministry of External Affairs said Islamabad must “immediately vacate” all areas under its illegal occupation.
Last week, the Pakistani court allowed its government to hold elections in September in Gilgit-Baltistan, as well as set up a caretaker government during the interim period. The order said the region came within its domain.
“It was clearly conveyed that the entire Union Territories of Jammu and 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,” the foreign ministry said in a statement. “The government of Pakistan or its judiciary has no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it.”
India’s position in the matter is reflected in the resolution passed by Parliament in 1994 by consensus, the MEA added. “India completely rejects such actions and continued attempts to bring material changes in Pakistan occupied areas of the Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir,” the ministry said. “Instead, Pakistan should immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation.”
The foreign ministry also said Pakistan’s recent actions can neither hide the “illegal occupation” of parts of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh by it nor the “grave human rights violations, exploitation and denial of freedom” to the people residing in these areas for the past seven decades.