India has conveyed its strong protest to Pakistan over its efforts to bring "material change" to territories under its "illegal and forcible" occupation after the country's top court allowed holding of elections in Gilgit-Baltistan. The Ministry of External Affairs said a demarche was issued to a senior Pakistani diplomat lodging a strong protest over the court ruling and clearly conveying that the entire union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including the areas of Gilgit and Baltistan, are an integral part of India.
"It was further conveyed that such actions can neither hide the illegal occupation of parts of Union Territories of Jammu and 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 in a statement.
In a recent ruling, the Pakistan Supreme Court allowed Islamabad to amend a 2018 administrative order to conduct general elections in the region. The Gilgit-Baltistan Order of 2018 provided for administrative changes, including authorizing the Prime Minister of Pakistan to legislate on an array of subjects.
The MEA said the government of Pakistan or its judiciary has no locus standing on territories "illegally and forcibly" occupied by it.
"It was clearly conveyed that the entire Union Territories of Jammu and 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," the MEA said.
It said India protested Islamabad's efforts to "bring material change in Pakistan occupied territories" and asked it to vacate them.
"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 MEA said.
"Instead, Pakistan should immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation," it added.