'It's our integral part': India protests Pak SC's poll order on Gilgit-Baltistan
New Delhi on Monday lodged a strong protest with Islamabad over a Pakistan Supreme Court's directive permitting general elections in Gilgit-Baltistan and asked it to "immediately vacate the areas under its illegal occupation".
In a recent order, the Pakistan Supreme Court had allowed the amendment to the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order of 2018 to hold general elections in the area.
In a statement issued today, the Ministry of External Affairs said the entire Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including areas of Gilgit and Baltistan, are an integral part of India and that Pakistan must vacate the areas.
"India demarched senior Pakistan diplomat and lodged a strong protest to Pakistan against Supreme Court of Pakistan order on the so-called 'Gilgit-Baltistan'," the statement read.
"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," it added.
New Delhi also said that the Pakistan government as well as its judiciary does not have any locus standi on territories "illegally and forcibly".
"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.
The Centre further said that Islamabad's actions can neither hide the "illegal occupation" of parts of union territories 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.
"Government of India's position in the matter is reflected in the resolution passed by the Parliament in 1994 by consensus," the statement read.
(Inputs and image from theindianexpress.com)
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