New Delhi. 01 November 2020. Indian government strongly reacted toPakistani Prime Minister’s statement in Gilgit to hold elections in “Gilgit-Baltistan”, POK.
The Official Spokesperson, Anurag Srivastava said, “The Government of India firmly rejects the attempt by Pakistan to bring material changes to a part of Indian territory, under its illegal and forcible occupation. I reiterate that the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including the area of so-called “Gilgit-Baltistan”, are an integral part of India by virtue of the legal, complete and irrevocable accession of Jammu and Kashmir to the Union of India in 1947. The Government of Pakistan has no locus standi on territories illegally and forcibly occupied by it. Such attempts by Pakistan, intended to camouflage its illegal occupation, cannot hide the grave human rights violations, exploitation and denial of freedom for over seven decades to the people residing in these Pakistan occupied territories. Instead of seeking to alter the status of these Indian territories, we call upon Pakistan to immediately vacate all areas under its illegal occupation.”
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a speech in the city of Gilgit,”We have made a decision to grant provisional provincial status to Gilgit-Baltistan, which has long been the demand here keeping in view UN Security Council resolutions.”
Such statements and actions seem to be an attempt by Imran Khan to save his skin. A major set back for Pakistan has been the removal of Jammu & Kashmir by United Nations from its dispute list. The China-Pakistan nexus to internationalise Kashmir dispute has indeed suffered a setback. To divert the Pakistani population away from it’s failures, Prime Minister Imran Khan reached Gilgit and made the announcement.
The 2020 Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly elections are scheduled to be held on 15 November 2020. Elections will be held in 24 constituencies, each electing one member to the 3rd Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly. 330 candidates will contest these elections, either representing one of the fourteen officially registered and recognized political parties of Gilgit-Baltistan (at the time of the 2020 elections) or being an independent candidate.
The elections were originally scheduled to be held on 18 August 2020, but were postponed in July due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which severely affected Gilgit-Baltistan.
The Pakistan Army will not be called in to preside over the polls at the Election, with Mir Afzal, the Caretaker Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, in a formal statement stated that the caretaker government had the capacity to hold free, fair, and transparent elections in Gilgit-Baltistan.
April 30, 2020: The Supreme Court of Pakistan allows the federal government to form a caretaker government in late June 2020 and hold a general election in Gilgit-Baltistan less than sixty days after the formation of the caretaker government.
June 24, 2020: The members of the second assembly of Gilgit-Baltistan complete their full five-year terms and the assembly is dissolved. Mir Afzal is sworn in as the Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan, serving as a caretaker.
June 27, 2020: The President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi releases a statement scheduling the date August 18, 2020 to be the date of polling in the 2020 Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly election.
July 02, 2020: An election schedule is issued by the Gilgit-Baltistan Election Commission confirming August 18, 2020 to be the date of polling.
July 11, 2020: The Gilgit-Baltistan Election Commission postpones the upcoming election and suspends the previously published schedule in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. New dates of polling in October 2020 are deliberated upon.
September 23, 2020: The President of Pakistan, Dr. Arif Alvi gives approval to the proposed polling date of November 15, 2020 for the 2020 Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly election.
September 24, 2020: A detailed election schedule is issued by the Gilgit-Baltistan Election Commission confirming the new date of polling, November 15, 2020.
October 03, 2020: The Caretaker Chief Minister of Gilgit-Baltistan Mir Afzal states that the Pakistan military’s help will not be required in holding free and fair elections throughout Gilgit-Baltistan.
October 19, 2020: The final revised list of the candidates running in each constituency is published by the Election Commission of Gilgit-Baltistan.
October 20, 2020: Election Symbols are allotted to political parties and candidates.
November 15, 2020: Elections to be held.
Hope Imran Khan remembers that once the issue has been dropped by UN from its list of disputes, it is a bilateral issue only and India definitely knows how to tackle them. And also he should remember that it is the matter of Pakistan Occupried Kashmir, which is illegal occupation of Indian territory.