FO rejects India’s ‘baseless, fallacious contention’ regarding SC allowing govt to hold polls in GB

Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui. — Photo courtesy Radio Pakistan/File

The Foreign Office (FO) on Monday rejected India’s “baseless and fallacious contention” regarding the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the federal government to conduct the upcoming general elections in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB).

On April 30, the top court had allowed the Centre to conduct the elections under the Election Act 2017 and amend the related law to install a caretaker government for conducting polls.

The five-year term of the incumbent government of GB is due to expire in the last week of June whereas the next general elections in the region will become due within 60 days after the expiry of the GB Legislative Assembly.

Earlier today, India protested against the Supreme Court’s order, claiming Pakistan’s institutions have “no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it”.

The Indian Ministry of External Affairs lodged a “strong protest” through the démarche that “clearly conveyed that the entire union territories of 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”.

“India completely rejects such actions and continued attempts to bring material changes in Pakistan occupied areas of the Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir,” the statement added.

Responding to India’s protest, Foreign Office Spokesperson Aisha Farooqui issued a statement rejecting the claims.

“A senior Indian diplomat was summoned today to convey Pakistan’s rejection of India’s baseless and fallacious contention regarding the SC’s verdict in a matter pertaining to GB,” the statement read.

“It was clearly conveyed that the Indian claim over the occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir as an ‘integral part’ of India had no legal basis whatsoever.”

Farooqui added that the “entire state of Jammu and Kashmir” is a “disputed territory” and is recognised as such by the international community.

“The dispute, which is the longest outstanding item on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), stemmed from India’s forcible and illegal occupation in 1947 in complete violation of international law and aspirations of the people of the region.”

It was underscored that the only resolution to the conflict was by implementing the relevant UNSC resolutions that “recognise the Kashmiris’ inalienable right to self-determination”.

“Pending the resolution of the dispute, any unilateral Indian actions in occupied Kashmir were illegal,” the statement read.

It was also reiterated that India’s unilateral actions on August 5, 2019 — which stripped the region of its special autonomy through a presidential decree — and subsequent attempts to alter the demographic structure of the region were “illegal and in clear violation of the UNSC resolutions”.

“It was also emphasised that the baseless Indian contention about GB could neither cover up the atrocities being perpetrated by Indian occupation forces against innocent, unarmed Kashmiris nor could they succeed in diverting the attention of the international community from Indian state terrorism and aggravating human rights situation in occupied Kashmir,” the spokesperson’s statement said.

“The government of India was called upon to immediately reverse all of its illegal actions in occupied Kashmir, including ending illegal occupation of the territory, and let the people exercise their right to self-determination as enshrined in the UNSC resolutions.

“Reiterating Pakistan’s condemnation of the continuing grave human rights violations by Indian forces in occupied Kashmir, India was called upon to lift restrictions and communication blackout, release illegally detained Kashmiri youth and incarcerated Kashmiri leadership, and withdraw draconian laws such as Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Public safety Act in IOJK,” it said.

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