DELHI: India has staged a strong protest against the order of the Supreme Court of Pakistan that has allowed general elections in the “Gilgit-Baltistan” region and warned Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation.

Last week, on a request made by Pakistani government, a seven-member bench of Pakistan’s Supreme Court had allowed an amendment to the Government of Gilgit-Baltistan Order of 2018 to conduct the general elections in September as well as for setting up a caretaker government during the interregnum period.The tenure of the present government of Gilgit-Baltistan will end this June and the next general elections will be held within two months

Issuing a message of dissent to Islamabad through the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, India said that the entire Union Territories of Jammu & 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”.

It has further stated that “The government of Pakistan or its judiciary has no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it. India completely rejects such actions and continued attempts to bring material changes in Pakistan occupied areas of the Indian territory of J&K.India’s position in the matter is reflected in the resolution passed by Parliament in 1994 by consensus.”

“It was further conveyed that such actions can neither hide the illegal occupation of parts of Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh by Pakistan nor the grave human rights violations, exploitation and denial of freedom to the people residing in Pakistan occupied territories for the past seven decades,” it said.

Gilgit-Baltistan has been controlled administratively from Islamabad since 1947. However, this region continues to remain a disputed region between India and Pakistan, and hence has not been officially integrated in Pakistan.