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India raises questions about PoK
June 12, 2006 23:26 IST
India on Monday criticised Pakistan's reported disqualification of political parties and candidates of occupied Kashmir for not declaring their allegiance to Islamabad.
India said the move exposes the insincerity of the country's 'proclaimed policy that the future of the state should be decided by its people'. In view of the development, New Delhi also raised questions over the upcoming July 11 elections in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
"We have seen media reports that Pakistan has disqualified all political parties and candidates who failed to meet the condition of declaring their allegiance to the accession of J&K to Pakistan, from contesting the forthcoming elections in what Pakistan calls Azad Jammu and Kashmir," External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said.
"This confirms that the elections will be a replay of the earlier exercises, where the people did not have the freedom to vote for political parties and candidates of their choice," he said.
The spokesman said the development also exposed the insincerity of Pakistan's proclaimed policy that the future of the region should be decided by its people'.
The external affairs ministry said the disqualification is 'particularly glaring' in the light of the proposal made by President Pervez Musharraf of introducing self-governance in the region.
Sarna said the forthcoming elections also 'underlines the absence of any form of representative government in the northern areas of PoK, the residents of which are deprived of even their basic right to vote, as elections have never been held there'.
The Indian criticism of the Pakistani action comes three days after it objected to harassment of some leaders of occupied Kashmir by Pakistani intelligence agencies after their return from India.
The leaders were apparently harassed for participating in a seminar on Jammu and Kashmir in New Delhi. New Delhi said this was 'surprising because Pakistan wants free flow of people across the Line of Control. It appears that it wants it done selectively'.