Gilgit-Baltistan election row: Pakistan trying to be clever, says defence expert

By: | Published: June 3, 2015 9:15 AM

Defence expert Sushant Sareen on Thursday welcomed India's objection against Pakistan holding elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, which is a part of Kashmir occupied by the Islamic

Defence expert Sushant Sareen on Thursday welcomed India’s objection against Pakistan holding elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, which is a part of Kashmir occupied by the Islamic

Republic, pointing out that the assembly in the disputed area does not have municipal powers.

“For the first time, India has objected the issue of Gilgit-Baltistan in a firm way. According to Pakistan, Gilgit-Baltistan was a settled issue. India has rejected this move of Pakistan. Pakistan is trying to

be clever by holding elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, even though the assembly does not have municipal power. India is absolutely right to protest,” Sareen told ANI.

Sareen also noted that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through the Gilgit-Baltistan region.

Earlier in the day, India flagged its objections to elections being held in Gilgit-Baltistan, which forms a part of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and termed the move as an attempt to camouflage the ‘forcible

and illegal’ occupation of the region.

“The entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, which includes the regions of Gilgit-Baltistan, is an integral part of India. The election in Gilgit-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. We are concerned by the continued efforts by Pakistan to deny the people of the region their political rights and the efforts being made to absorb these territories,” Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Vikas Swarup told media here.

Pakistan had earlier announced that legislative elections in Gilgit-Baltistan will be held on June 8.

The Express Tribune has reported that a jirga in the region has barred women from casting their vote in one of the constituencies in the region, thereby depriving over 12,000 women of their right.

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