New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Taking strong exception to Pakistan's move to conduct general elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, India on Thursday said any action to change status quo of the militarily-occupied region has no legal basis. New Delhi's reaction came amid reports that Islamabad will hold elections for the legislative assembly of so-called Gilgit-Baltistan will be held on November 15.

"Any action by Pakistan to alter the status of the militarily-occupied so-called Gilgit-Baltistan has no legal basis whatsoever and is totally void ab-initio," MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava at a virtual press meet.

Reiterating India's position on Pakistan occupied Kashmir, Srivastava said, "Our position has always been clear and consistent. The entire territories of the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have been and are an integral part of India and would remain so". The polls in Gilgit-Baltistan were earlier scheduled for August 18, but Pakistan's election commission postponed them due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this year, Pakistan's Supreme Court allowed Islamabad to amend a 2018 administrative order to conduct general elections in the region. The Gilgit-Baltistan Order of 2018 provided for administrative changes, including authorising the prime minister of Pakistan to legislate on an array of subjects.

Following the verdict, India issued a demarche to a senior Pakistani diplomat in Delhi and lodged a strong protest over the court ruling. The external affairs ministry said Pakistan or its judiciary had no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it and rejected attempts to bring material changes in Pakistan-occupied areas of the Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir




Posted By: Rakesh Kumar Jha