New Delhi/Islamabad – India had objected to the Pakistani government’s holding of elections in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). The Indian Foreign Ministry had lashed out at Pakistan for illegally occupying the territory and covering up its illegal occupation by rigging elections. It is reported that Pakistan has issued summons to the Indian ambassador over this matter. But this election in POK is not acceptable to other political parties in Pakistan. The people in POK are also chanting slogans of ‘independence’ and urging India to liberate them. Opposition leader Maryam Nawaz has blamed Prime Minister Imran Khan for this action.
In POK, prime minister Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party won a majority in the elections held on July 25th. However, the Pakistani government and army have been accused of rigging the polls. Earlier, Maryam Nawaz, leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), in power in the POK, refused to accept the verdict. POK activists, along with PML-N activists, also took to the streets to protest. This has led to the proclamation of ‘independence’ in the POK. The protesters are also announcing ‘Kashmir Banega Hindustan’ (Kashmir will become India). It is significant to note that the announcements were made in front of Pakistani Army personnel. One of the PML-N candidates had caused a stir in Pakistan by announcing that he would seek Indian help for justice.
Against this backdrop, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs strongly criticised the POK elections on Thursday. Pakistan has no right to hold these so-called elections on Indian soil. However, Pakistan staged the election to cover up its illegal occupation of the territory. India is vehemently protesting this action. Pakistan should relinquish its illegal possession of Indian territory, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said. While there has been a lot of criticism of the POK polls in Pakistan itself, the reaction from India seems to have been stung Pakistan badly.
On Friday, the Pakistani foreign ministry issued a summons to the Indian ambassador, seeking an explanation. Pakistani foreign ministry has said that Pakistan is denying Indian claims regarding POK. The Pakistani government has accused Maryam Nawaz, the main opposition leader, of using the language of accusing India of rigging the election in POK. Also, supporters of Imran Khan’s government criticise Maryam Nawaz for following in the footsteps of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, the creator of Bangladesh.
It came to the fore once again on this occasion that the election held by Pakistan, so far, in POK was a farce. It is no coincidence that the ruling party in Pakistan gets a majority in the POK elections. But it is being manoeuvred. Therefore, Pakistani journalists have to confess that the election of POK is a farce. Moreover, some people thanked the Pakistan Army for organising the elections in POK. Pointing to this, neutral journalists raise a question, ‘Is it the job of the Pakistan military to hold elections?’. There is widespread criticism that the POK and all elections held in Pakistan in the last 70 years have not been fair and every election has been rigged.
The Pakistan Army is also feeling the pressure as the declaration of independence is circulating in the POK. This has put Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government in a difficult position. The anti-India radical analyst in Pakistan has expressed fears that India will take advantage of the discontent in the POK and will soon launch an attack to reclaim POK. The analyst has demanded that the Pakistan Army should attack India before that happens.