Pak Playing Mischief In Gilgit-Baltistan By Holding Farcical Elections: Dr Jitendra

8 June 2015
The Daily Excelsior
Nishikant Khajuria

Jammu: Reiterating India's objection towards election in Gilgit-Baltistan, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North-Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today said that Pakistan was playing mischief in the region and its decision to hold a farcical election was a part of a larger design. 'Even the constitution of Pakistan itself does not recognize the territory (Gilgit-Baltistan) as its part and therefore, any Pak misadventure of this kind in the area is clearly meant to illegally legitimize its hold over the territory and change the demographic character of the region through appointment of handpicked administrative functionaries through a stage-managed election,' he said while talking to media persons on the sidelines of a function, here today. When asked what would be the Indian Government's future approach to this new situation, Dr Singh said, the Ministry of External Affairs is taking a call, but in general, as far as India is concerned, the unanimously passed 1994 resolution of Parliament of India clearly states that in case of Jammu & Kashmir, the only outstanding issue is that how to retrieve and restore back to India the parts of State, including the areas of Gilgit and Baltistan, which continue to remain under illegal occupation of Pakistan. Pertinent to mention that India has already conveyed 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. In response to the debate on the issue of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Dr Jitendra Singh reiterated his earlier stand and said, 'honestly speaking, I am not qualified to answer this question because it is my firm belief that even though political functionaries can offer their suggestions as whether to retain or revoke AFSPA, the final decision on this has to be based on the wisdom and inputs of security agencies'. Referring to recent killings of the Indian security personnel in Manipur, Dr Singh said, while his heart goes out in sympathy to the bereaved families of the young soldiers, as a Union Minister in-charge of Northeast, he also feels worried because such violent activities have adverse effect on the pace of development in the region, which the Narendra Modi Government has taken up as a high priority on its agenda. He recalled that just about a week before this unfortunate incident, he was himself touring Manipur and had announced a new 440 MW power project and issued instructions to expedite the work on the first-of-its-kind Manipur Sports University which was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit in November last year.