Why in news?
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued a “strong protest” on 4th May 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).
The government 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.
On April 30 the Supreme Court in Islamabad had allowed the government to organise general elections in G-B, and to set up a caretaker government there before that.
What does India have to say about it?
- 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.
- India’s reaction is consistent with previous objections it has voiced against elections in G-B and in other parts of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, which it refers to as “Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK)”.
- India also pointed out that G-B and PoK are an “integral part of India” along with the rest of Jammu and Kashmir, and referred to the Parliament resolution to this effect in 1994.
Pakistan’s Response to India’s objection
- Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) responded that this was a response to India’s Abrogation of article 370 – which Pakistan claims is illegal and in clear violation of UNSC resolutions.
- According to Pakistan- The entire State of Jammu and Kashmir is a “disputed” territory and is recognised as such by the international community.
- Gilgit-Baltistan is a region administered by Pakistan as an administrative territory, and constituting the northern portion of the larger Kashmir region which has been the subject of a dispute between India and Pakistan since 1947, and between India and China from somewhat later.
- Gilgit-Baltistan is part of the greater Kashmir region, which is the subject of a long-running conflict between Pakistan and India.
- The territory shares a border with “Pakistan administered Kashmir” (Called Azad Kashmir by Pakistan) and union territories of Jammu and Kashmir (union territory) and Ladakh separated from it by the Line of Control.
- Pakistan is a federation that comprises four provinces: Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan and three territories: Islamabad Capital Territory, Gilgit–Baltistan and Azad Kashmir (according to Pakistan).