Gilgit-Baltistan polls to camouflage Pak’s forcible occupation, India says
NEW DELHI: As Pakistan prepares to hold elections in Gilgit-Baltistan in J&K, India described the exercise as an attempt by Pakistan to “camouflage its forcible and illegal occupation of the regions”.
Pakistan will hold elections in Gilgit and Baltistan on June 8 under the so called “Gilgit- Baltistan Empowerment and Self Government Order”. In its response, the MEA said the entire state of J&K, including Gilgit and Baltistan, remains an integral part of India.
“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,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup.
“The fact that a Federal minister of Pakistan is also the “Governor of Gilgit Baltistan” speaks for itself. Unfortunately in recent times the people of the region have also become victims of sectarian conflict, terrorism and extreme economic hardship due to Pakistan’s occupationary policies,” added the official, in an apparent reference to growing Sunni influence in the originally Shia-dominated region at the behest of Pakistani authorities.
Meanwhile, Pakistan too hit back at India for setting conditions for the resumption of talks, calling foreign minister Sushma Swaraj’s remarks “ironical”.
When India keeps violating ceasefire at the Line of Control and the Working Boundary, indulges in worst human rights violations against helpless Kashmiris in Indian occupied Kashmir, and undertakes subversive activities in Pakistan, then asking Pakistan to create an environment free of violence only sounds ironical,” said Pakistan PM’s adviser on foreign affairs Sartaj Aziz.
He expressed surprise over Swaraj’s remarks that multi-billion dollar Pakistan-China Economic Corridor is “not acceptable” and said this mega project is all about regional connectivity and economic development and prosperity of the common people of the entire region.
“There is dichotomy in the Indian statements on their pronouncements on the importance of the regional connectivity for development and their negative comments about CPEC,” he said. (timesofIndia)