ISLAMABAD: On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi called on the opposition to hold talks to work out a substantive action plan aimed at settling the persistent conflict between Jammu and Kashmir after the Senate saw the two sides engage in a blame game on the issue.
“On this subject, let us join hands. This is a continuing struggle and we will have to combat it together,” he said after shaming three mainstream opposition parties’ lawmakers, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F), with a strong response to their comments and accusations about the Kashmir issue being handled by the government.”
To mark the right of the Kashmiris to self-determination day, the foreign minister ended a debate on Kashmir in the parliament.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) adopted a resolution on January 5, 1949, recognising the right of the Kashmiris to determine their future on their own by a plebiscite supported by the UN.
Two sides engaged in blame game over the issue in Senate
While launching the discussion, PPP parliamentary leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman observed that if Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had been alive, the Kashmir crisis would have been in a different global dimension. The PML-Rana N’s Maqbool accused the PTI-led government of putting the issue of Kashmir on the back burner. JUI-Maulana F’s Abdul Ghafoor Haidri claimed that Narendra Modi and Imran Khan were brought into power under a proposal for the full takeover of Kashmir by New Delhi.
Foreign Minister Qureshi blamed the opposition in his speech for using the Kashmir issue for political point-scoring and having the cheek to suggest what the new government had done about the conflict.
He agreed with the argument made by Ms Rehman about Z.A. But Bhutto lamented the fact that his PPP predecessors had turned their attention away from Kashmir. Sherry Rehman was inspired by the comments to stage a walkout from the building.
Sorry to see the army, also in Kashmir’s Senate, playing politics. This is the first time any Govt sitting has poison stirred into what we see as a non-partisan non-divisive problem, she tweeted shortly after the walkout.
The foreign minister kept shooting salvos in her absence, stating that he had invited Sherry Rehman, Naveed Qamar and Mushahid Hussain Sayed for a Kashmir briefing. “He added, “I wish they had shown perfection, rising above political expediencies.
The minister’s assertion was also challenged in another tweet by Ms Rehman. Shocked to hear FM saying that I, Naveed Qamar and Mushahid Hussain were invited to his Kashmir briefings, and that we didn’t go, because every time all three of us went there. I was in Karachi just once at short notice and I personally regretted it, but my colleagues went! We’ve never seen politics like this,’ she tweeted.
Mr. Qureshi also reminded Ghafoor Haidri that for a long time, his party leader, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, had the ability to plead the case as Chairman of the Kashmir Committee, but he was unable to pay attention to the issue.
The minister said in response to the PML-N accusation of putting the Kashmir issue on the back burner: “I am aware of your political compulsions, but it is known to all who have done it.”
He referred to former Foreign Office spokesman Tasneem Aslam’s argument that during the PML-N term, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had asked diplomats not to talk against India and on the issue of Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav.7
He said it was part of the BJP manifesto on the reform of occupied Kashmir status, also when Indian Prime Minister Modi was a guest of then-Premier Sharif at Jati Umra. He regretted that he had written letters to Shehbaz Sharif, the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, the President of the PPP, inviting them to a briefing on Kashmir, but they had not replied to his letters.
Sherry Rehman, who had previously opened the discussion on Kashmir in the Chamber, said the right to self-determination was one of the most basic rights granted by the United Nations and all universal charters. In the past of every country, what the Modi regime has done is literally unconscionable and unparalleled. He took his brutal, colonising law to an entire human valley. From the use of pellet weapons and blinding young people who come out on the streets and ask for their freedom, to utterly disabling them. Could this not be seen by the international community? “Asked her.
We also received significant reports from the UN, the EU (European Union) and human rights groups from around the world, including India, commenting on the extent of impunity openly provided to the 800,000 to 900,000 Indian occupying forces. They made this lovely valley a valley of tears and gore. A valley of mass graves and unlawful detentions, where civilians vanish overnight, tossed away by the weapons and torture of Indian military and security forces covered by the Special Powers Act of the Armed Forces and the Public Protection Act of Jammu and Kashmir, 1978. The entire planet would have protested if this had happened somewhere else,’ she said.
Modi sarkar sought to take over the right of the Kashmiris to home, and not just to self-determination, but also to live and breathe openly… The women are abused, their children are in jail… Hundreds and thousands of people have disappeared and the courageous Kashmiri people have continuously defied the weapons, tanks and the constant state of being oppressed and living in an open jai. Ms Rehman lamented it, although the international community had moved away from it.
As today is the anniversary of the birth of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, I wonder how he might have fought both at the UN with the international community and at the OIC in the case of Kashmir. SZAB would have made his voice known, along with all world leaders, and would have made Pakistan proud. He must have noticed that the voice of the Kashmiris has been heard,’ she said.
Crackdown on opposition Sherry Rehman, taking part in a discussion on ‘unprecedented crackdown’ on opposition employees, said no democratic government had ever victimised political enemies in the history of the country the way the PTI government was doing.
She said that 18 PTI ministers [for their suspected complicity in corruption] had been prosecuted by the National Oversight Bureau, but none of them had ever been held in NAB detention for 90 days or handcuffed like the opposition leaders facing maltreatment.
The PPP senator said that the key leaders of the opposition, including Syed Khursheed Shah, Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz and Khawaja Asif, were in prison. “Responsibility is for the opposition only,” she said, advising the PTI government that in the future it might face the same situation.
She said the foreign minister also attempted to make the Kashmir issue contentious in his policy speech in the parliament.
Ms Rehman pointed out that in this time of pandemic, all the world’s right-wing regimes were busy offering relief to the masses, but the PTI government was least troubled by skyrocketing food prices. She added that as many as 60% of the population of Pakistan had been food poor, but the government was just busy making arrests.
She said the government would refuse to overturn the 18th Amendment in its architecture and allow amendments to the NFC Award.