AJK disqualification: India flays Pakistan


June 14, 2006

New Delhi, June 13 (PTI): India on Monday criticised Pakistan's reported disqualification of political parties and candidates of occupied Jammu and Kashmir for not declaring their allegiance to Islamabad and said it "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-held Jammu and Kashmir being fair. "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 and K to Pakistan, from contesting the forthcoming elections in what Pakistan calls 'Azad (free) Jammu and Kashmir," External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said. "This confirms that the elections in the so-called 'Azad J&K', scheduled to be held on July 11, will be a replay of the earlier exercises, in which 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 exposes the insincerity of Pakistan's proclaimed policy that the future of J and K 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 J and K.

Sarna said the forthcoming elections in occupied J&Kalso "underlines the absence of any form of representative government in the so-called 'Northern Areas' of Pakistan occupied Kashmir, the residents of which are deprived of even their basic right to vote, as electiosn 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 here. 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 (LoC). It appears that it wants it done selectively".


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