NEW DELHI: India on Monday lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over an order by that country’s supreme court allowing the conduct of general elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, with New Delhi saying that the region is an integral part of India and has been illegally occupied by Islamabad.
According to sources, a senior Pakistani diplomat was served a demarche over the phone.
“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 External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
It added that the government of Pakistan or its judiciary did not have any locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it.
Last month, the Pakistan Supreme Court allowed the amendment to the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order of 2018 to conduct the general elections in the region.
The order was issued in response to a petition filed by the Pakistan government.
The term of the current government in Gilgit-Baltistan will end on June 24 with polls mandated to be held within 60 days.
India’s position is reflected in the resolution passed by the Parliament in 1994 by consensus, the statement said.