Hundreds of people rallied in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Monday to protest India's decision to host a G20 tourism meeting in the disputed Himalayan region.
New Delhi is hosting the key conference in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir's (IIOJK) summer capital Srinagar from Monday to Wednesday, a move which Pakistan and longtime ally China have opposed.
Several protesters demonstrated in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Azad Kashmir, and other cities, chanting: "Go India go back and boycott, boycott G20 boycott!", said government official Raja Azhar Iqbal.
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari visited the region and addressed AJK's legislative assembly on Monday. He termed the G20 gathering as illegal, and an attempt by India to seek legitimacy over its control of the disputed region.
"India is misusing its position as G20 chair," he said and urged the world to take note of New Delhi's "gross human rights violations" since India scrapped occupied Kashmir's independent status in August 2019 and annexed the region as part of its territory.
The G20 tourism working group meeting is the first international event in the region since the annexation.
The nuclear-armed nations, Pakistan and India, have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, two of them over Kashmir.
G20 consists of 19 rich nations and the European Union. India at present holds its presidency and is set to host its annual summit in New Delhi in September.