India on Thursday slammed Pakistan for holding elections in Gilgit-Baltistan, saying it was aimed at hiding Pakistan's illegal occupation of its territory. Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava asserted that Gilgit-Baltistan was an integral part of India since 1947.
Asked at an online briefing about elections held in Gilgit-Baltistan and protests against the poll process there, he said, "I had given a few answers before the elections. Elections in Gilgit-Baltistan are nothing but a sham and their aim is to hide Pakistan's illegal occupation of areas of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir." "We reiterate that along with Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, Gilgit-Baltistan is an integral part of India since 1947," Srivastava said. India had earlier also slammed Pakistan for its decision to hold elections in Gilgit-Baltistan and said any action to alter the status of the militarily-occupied region has no legal basis.
To a question on the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, Srivastava said Pakistan has failed to provide an environment in which the allegations against him can be seriously and effectively challenged. "We had asked Pakistan to allow Queen's Counsel for Jadhav. The International Court of Justice had pronounced judgment on Kulbhushan Jadhav in July 2019, but Pakistan has not made available to us all documents related to the case till now," Srivastava said. The ICJ judgment should be implemented fully, he asserted.
In 2017, India approached the ICJ against Pakistan for denial of consular access to Jadhav and challenging the death sentence handed to him by a military court. The Hague-based ICJ ruled in July 2019 that Pakistan must undertake an "effective review and reconsideration" of the conviction and sentence of Jadhav and also to grant consular access to India without further delay.
India has slammed Pakistan for adopting a "farcical" approach in denying available legal remedies to Jadhav against his death sentence in contravention of the ICJ order. The retired Indian Navy officer, Jadhav, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism in April 2017.
On another question as to who will represent India at the International conference on humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan in Geneva next week, Srivastava on Thursday said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will represent India at the conference which will be held in the virtual format.