Gilgit-Baltistan polls: Pakistan rejects India's remarks, terms it as interference in internal affairs
Islamabad: Pakistan on Wednesday rejected India's stand on upcoming elections in Gilgit and Baltistan, describing it as an "interference" in the country's internal affairs.
Reacting strongly to the upcoming elections in Gilgit and Baltistan on June 8, Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry Vikas Swarup on Tuesday said that it is an attempt by Pakistan to "camouflage its forcible and illegal occupation" of the regions which are integral part of the country.
Pakistan Foreign Ministry Spokesman's Office said pending final settlement through a free and impartial plebiscite under the UN auspices, as enshrined in numerous UN Resolutions, Kashmir issue as an internationally recognised dispute.
"Under these Resolutions no material change is allowed, yet India, in complete violation of these Resolutions, calls it a state of the union," it said in a statement.
The Indian description of the elections being held in Gilgit-Baltistan on June 8 is interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan, it said.
India had expressed concern at the "continued efforts" by Pakistan to deny the people of the region their political rights and to absorb these territories.
"India's position is well known. The entire state of Jammu and Kashmir which includes the regions of Gilgit and Baltistan is an integral part of India. The election in Gilgit and Baltistan on June 8 under the so called 'Gilgit Baltistan Empowerment and Self Government Order' is an attempt by Pakistan to camouflage its forcible and illegal occupation of the regions," Swarup had said in New Delhi.
"We are concerned at the continued efforts by Pakistan to deny the people of the region their political rights, and the efforts being made to absorb these territories. The fact that a Federal Minister of Pakistan is also the 'Governor of Gilgit Baltistan' speaks for itself," he said.
But in response, the Pakistani statement said, "It is actually India which is unlawfully occupying the territories of Jammu and Kashmir."
"To maintain its illegal hold on that disputed territory, India has deployed over 700,000 of its forces, atrociously tries to suppress majority voice of Kashmiri Muslims and holds sham elections at gun-point," it said.
"The dispute stems from India's constant refusal to implement the relevant Security Council Resolutions, which provide for a just solution of the Kashmir issue. India's position on Kashmir is one of utter disregard to the UN Resolutions, a consistent pattern of forceful occupation, denial of the inalienable right of self- determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir," it said.