India on Thursday slammed Pakistan for holding assembly elections in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), and said it was nothing but an “attempt by Pakistan to camouflage its illegal occupation”. New Delhi also lodged a strong protest Islamabad over the issue.
Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that Pakistan has no locus standi on these Indian territories and it should vacate all areas under its illegal occupation.
“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,” Bagchi said at an online media briefing.
His strong response came days after Pakistan conducted elections to the legislative Assembly in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The elections were marred by allegations of irregularities and violence.
Bagchi said India has lodged a strong protest with the Pakistani authorities on this “cosmetic exercise”, which has also been protested and rejected by the local people.
“Such an exercise can neither hide the illegal occupation by Pakistan nor the grave human rights violations, exploitation and denial of freedom to the people in these occupied territories,” he said. (With PTI inputs)