New Delhi, September 29: India on Tuesday said it has lodged a strong protest with Pakistan regarding assembly elections in occupied Gilgit-Baltistan region. Pakistan has announced that election for the legislative assembly of Gilgit-Baltistan will be held on November 15. India reiterated that Pakistan has no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it, including Gilgit-Baltistan. India Protests Against Diamer Bhasha Dam Construction by Pakistan and China in PoK, Says 'Project Will Submerge Large Parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh'.
"We have seen reports regarding announcement of elections to the so-called "Gilgit-Baltistan” Legislative Assembly to be held on November 15, 2020. The Government of India has conveyed its strong protest to the Government of Pakistan and reiterated that the entire Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including the areas of so-called Gilgit and Baltistan are an integral part of India by virtue of its accession in 1947. The Government of Pakistan has no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it," India's Ministry of External Affairs said. India Lodges Strong Protest With Pakistan Over Vandalism of Buddhist Carvings in PoK's Gilgit-Baltistan.
India said no attempt by Pakistan "can hide the illegal occupation of parts of Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh by Pakistan or the grave human rights violations, exploitation and denial of freedom to the people residing in Pakistan occupied territories for the past seven decades". New Delhi also rejected the so-called "Gilgit-Baltistan (Elections and Caretaker Government) Amendment Order 2020".
"These are cosmetic exercises intended to camouflage its illegal occupation. We call upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation," the MEA said.
Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly Elections 2020:
Pakistan President Dr Arif Alvi issued an official notification last week, stating assembly elections in Gilgit-Baltistan will be held on November 15. "The president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is pleased to announce Sunday, the 15th November 2020, as the poll day for the general elections to the Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Legislative Assembly in terms of Section 57(1) of the Elections Act 2017,” the statement said.
The so-called assembly of Gilgit-Baltistan has 33 seats. Of them, six are reserved for technocrats and three for women. These seats are filled from nominations by the parties winning the polls according to their representation. Therefore, polling will be held on the remaining 24 seats. The five-year term of the previous assembly had ended on June 24, bringing an end to the five-year rule of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
The so-called polls in Gilgit-Baltistan were to be held on August 18, but Pakistan's Election Commission on July 11 deferred them due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.