- Chairman Fazlur Rehman fails to make any contribution to the Kashmir cause since 2008
- Kundi says committee is good for nothing as it has political objectives
ISLAMABAD: With the entire nation condemning the bloodbath in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK), Parliamentary Special Committee on Kashmir and its Chairman Maulana Fazlur Rehman appear nowhere to be seen.
Mandated to espouse the cause of Kashmiris and express solidarity with them, the present Kashmir Committee comprises nominees of almost all major political parties, representing the whole nation, to highlight the atrocities committed on Kashmiris.
This is, however, not the first time that Fazlur Rehman has failed to highlight the plight of Kashmiris – the task for which he is being remunerated millions each year from the national exchequer.
Sources told Pakistan Today that the Parliamentary Special Committee on Kashmir met only eight times since 2013.
They said that the prized post of committee chairman is being used as a political bribe for the past ten years to win the support of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) – whose chief is Fazlur Rehman – by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), despite the fact that Fazl has almost been indifferent to the cause of Kashmir.
The committee remained tight-lipped last year as well when over 200 youngsters were slain in Kashmir valley after the martyrdom of freedom fighter Burhan Wani.
Fazlur Rehman was conspicuous by his absence once again in 2017 when the country’s Parliament hosted an international seminar over the Kashmir issue attended by world parliamentarians and scholars, but he was nowhere to be seen. Also, Chairman Fazlur Rehman failed to convene a diplomatic conference on the IoK despite the announcement by the committee last year.
According to sources, the Kashmir Committee only met once during the entire year, though a joint session of the Parliament was convened after the committee failed to deliver.
Sources further said that the official budget for Kashmir Committee is Rs550 million per year. On the other hand, the chairman enjoys the perks and privileges equal to a federal minister and has been provided with a furnished house in the Ministers’ Enclave.
Besides that, a grade 20 officer works as secretary of the committee to assist the chairman.
Some analysts even go as far as blaming Fazl for being opposed to the Kashmir issue due to the stance of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind (JUH) – of which the JUI-F is an offshoot – as the JUH had convened a big congregation of Islamic clerics and scholars at a seminary in Saharanpur district, about 400 km from Lucknow, in 2010 to evolve a consensus opinion on Kashmir.
The assembly comprising Deoband school of thought had formally declared the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir as an integral part of India.
Besides Fazlur Rehman of JUI-F, Amir Haider Khan of ANP, Mujahid Ali and Dawar Khan Kundi of PTI, Ch Khadim Hussain, Raja Matloob Mehdi, Shakir Bashir Awan, Ghulam Muhammad Lali, Rana Umer Nazir, Azhar Qayyum Nahra, Afzal Khokhar, Javaid Latif, Qasim Noon, Iftikhar Nazir and Zahid Hamid of PML-N and Ijazul Haq of PML-Z are members of the committee who haven’t broke silence on the recent outrage in Kashmir.
Other members include Ghous Bux Khan Mahar of PML-F, Aijaz Jakhrani, Nawab Wassan and Munawar Talpur of the PPP, Abdul Waseem of MQM-P and Shakila Luqman of PML-N, who rarely speak in the National Assembly.
Fazl was given the coveted post of Kashmir Committee chairman by the then President Asif Zardari, in December 2008, with 34 lawmakers to assist him to win over his party government’s support as a quid pro quo. However, the JUI-F failed to raise the Kashmir issue until the year 2013.
Despite his dismal performance, he was again given the slot by the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who had again been joined by the JUI-F in August 2013 with 22 members.
Moreover, the committee chairman and its members have visited over a dozen countries including India under the pretext of Kashmir cause, but these tours remained only ‘pleasure trips’ as no result was ever seen by any side to resolve the issue, thereby being a burden on the national exchequer.
Despite repeated efforts, Maulana Fazlur Rehman could not be reached for comments.
However, Dawar Khan Kundi told Pakistan Today that the committee had last met in January when Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua had briefed the committee on the updates in Kashmir.
“The committee is good for nothing as it meets once a year and delivers nothing. It has political objectives rather than raising the issue of Kashmir,” Kundi said, adding that basically, it is a body to dole out political favours to the blue-eyed.
When asked whether he believed that the committee chairman meant business during the past five years, Kundi said, “Frankly, Fazl means business only to fill his own pocket with hefty salaries, perks and privileges.”
“This committee is good for nothing. Fazl has destroyed the cause of Kashmir as he only needs protocols, perks and privileges. He has nothing to do with the Kashmir cause,” he concluded.