Dubbing the recently held elections in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir a “cosmetic exercise”, India on Thursday, 29 July, asserted that Pakistan has "no locus standi on these Indian territories”.
The Indian government has also alleged that the polls were Pakistan’s bid to "camouflage its illegal occupation”, as per news agency PTI.
These elections, meanwhile, were reported to have been won by Pakistan PM Imran Khan’s party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi has also raised strong objections to references made to Jammu and Kashmir in a recent joint-press statement issued by Pakistan and China.
On 'Polls' in PoK
Addressing an online media briefing, Bagchi said:
"The so-called elections in Indian territory under the illegal occupation of Pakistan are nothing but an attempt by Pakistan to camouflage its illegal occupation and the material changes undertaken by it in these territories.”
Further, Bagchi said that India has lodged a strong protest with the Pakistani authorities, and claimed that the polls were protested and rejected by locals in the area, as well.
Bagchi went on to claim:
"Such an exercise can neither hide the illegal occupation by Pakistan nor the grave human rights violations, exploitation, and denial of freedom to people in these occupied territories.”
On China-Pakistan Joint Statement
Reacting to a joint statement by China and Pakistan, which carried a reference to Jammu and Kashmir, the MEA spokesperson said:
"As in the past, India categorically rejects any reference to J&K. The Union Territory of J&K and the Union Territory of Ladakh has been and will remain an integral and inalienable part of India."
As per The Tribune, the MEA spokesperson’s reaction was to a sentence in the statement that said: “The Pakistani side briefed the Chinese side on the deterioration of the situation in J&K, including its concerns, position and current urgent issues.”
Further, Bagchi objected to the reference to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in the statement and asserted that the same is in India’s territory.
PTI also quoted Bagchi as saying:
"We resolutely oppose any attempts by other countries to change the status quo in areas illegally occupied by Pakistan as also to Pakistan bringing up any material change in Indian territories under its illegal occupation. We call upon parties concerned to cease such actions.”
(With inputs from PTI.)