–Lawmakers pass resolution against India, call upon UN to hold New Delhi accountable for putting regional peace at stake
–FM Qureshi says India itself divided over move by far-right BJP govt, with Congress calling it ‘big mistake’
ISLAMABAD: A joint session of parliament that was convened over soaring Kashmir tensions on Wednesday denounced India for altering the status of held-Kashmir in “unilateral move” and unanimously passed a resolution censuring New Delhi for its rights violations in the held region.
The resolution was presented by Kashmir Committee Chairman Syed Fakhar Imam.
The resolution rejects India’s “illegal, unilateral, reckless and coercive attempt to alter the disputed status of Indian occupied Kashmir as enshrined in the UNSC resolutions”.
Moreover, it decries “other regressive measures” to change Kashmir’s demographic structure as well as “the recent surge in unprovoked firing and shelling on unarmed civilian population across the Line of Control and use of cluster bombs by Indian forces in Azad Jammu and Kashmir”.
The resolution also denounces the “deployment of additional troops and atrocities in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir and other recent developments”.
It emphasises that the “enforcement and legitimacy of resolutions of the UNSC can never be diluted by unilateral actions”.
The resolution calls upon the UN Security Council to take cognisance of the matter and the UN Human Rights Council to constitute a Commission of Inquiry. It also calls upon Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to “convene an extraordinary high level session immediately” and “work with the UN for an end to repression in IOK”.
Speaking during the session, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the National Security Committee (NSC) had decided to downgrade Pakistan’s diplomatic relations with India and also suspend trade between the two countries.
He said that there are voices from within India itself which are crying foul over the move by India which scrapped Kashmir of its special status.
Qureshi quoting P. Chidambaram, a member of India’s Rajya Sabha (upper house) of the Parliament and former finance minister, Qureshi said that the Indian parliamentarian had condemned the move, terming the decision a “big mistake”.
Speaking on the floor of the house, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday stressed the need for maintaining economic and political stability and fixing Pakistan’s relations with other countries.
The former president said that today India is closely monitoring the economic and political situation in Pakistan and it is necessary to fix these sectors to give a strong response to India.
He said that his party was formed on the issue of Kashmir. “After the 1971 war, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto held dialogue with Indira Gandhi at a time when India held thousands of Pakistani prisoners while continuing occupation on our territory,” he said, adding that Bhutto still managed to take the land back from India while Syria could still not recover Golan Heights from Israel despite support from Islamic countries.
Zardari said that the Kashmiri leadership believes in the two-nation theory and they want to be a part of Pakistan because the country was created by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to allow Muslims to spend their lives in accordance with the teachings of Islam. “Today, the Kashmiris are being oppressed and we have to show solidarity with them,” he added.
He said that had he been in power, he would have approached Russia, China, United Arab Emirates (UAE) among other countries if a similar situation happened as “it is important to keep your friends close”.
“During my tenure as the president, I went to China and other countries multiple times to create goodwill for Pakistan,” he added. He stressed that Pakistan would have rekindle its relations with other countries.
Zardari further said that he knew about the importance of the fight waged by the Kashmiris against the occupation forces. “They bury their dead covered in Pakistani flag and no house in the occupied territory is without a martyr today,” he added.
Former foreign minister Khawaja Asif said India is following in the footsteps of Israel, adding that Pakistan is in a vulnerable position because of its dwindling economic situation.
He said that it appears that India wants to forcefully evict the Kashmiris so it can annex the territory. He said that after 1989, about 100,000 Kashmiris had been martyred by India in the disputed territory.
Asif said that Pakistan should stand united in this situation and should launch a diplomatic offensive against India along with other Islamic countries because the policy of appeasement will not work now. Highlighting the significance of Kashmir, he said that Quaid-e-Azam had called Kashmir the “jugular vein” of Pakistan.
He further said that Pakistan wanted peace in the region, especially in Afghanistan. He asked the government to take the people into confidence over its policy for Kabul.
Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made a wrong decision by revoking Article 370 and 35A in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK).
He said that laws similar to Article 370 were in force in other Indian states but the Indian government had forcefully revoked it in IOK. He warned that this decision would lead to the rise of a new movement in Kashmir.
Talking about Indian PM’s “racist stance”, he said that Modi did not give a single ticket to a Muslims in the recent general elections and allocated all the seats to 303 Hindus.
He said that India is following Israel’s model and would only make things worse in Kashmir.
He further said that China had given a message to India on Ladakh, adding that Israel and India were working together on a plan.
The minister said that Pakistan should take its case to the United Nations (UN).
Senator Raza Rabbani, in his speech, said that India indicated early this year that Modi government would revoke Article 370 in Kashmir. “India would be moving towards ethnic cleansing, murder and genocide and Kashmir would be the new Gaza of the world and refugees would come to Pakistan,” he predicted.
He said that Pakistan would have to create a national narrative that India was denying the people of Kashmir the right to self-determination. “The rights given to the Kashmiris under international laws and treaties were being violated,” he added.
Rabbani said that when parliament would take the lead, then there could be a structural change in Pakistan’s foreign policy. He said that Pakistan should refuse to accept India as the policeman of the region and should look towards Asia instead of the west.
Sabir Kaimkhani said that Kashmir was the unfinished agenda of partition and the region should have been made part of Pakistan.
Federal Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari termed India’s move to abolish the special status of occupied Kashmir as a war crime.
Mazari said that there could not be peace in the region when India was preparing for war.
She condemned the move and said that India’s attempts to change the status of occupied Kashmir were not only illegal but also in violation of the Geneva Convention, which attributes any change in the demographic composition of held territory as a war crime.
The scrapping of Articles 370 and 35-A violated the Shimla Accord, the decisions of India’s superior courts and all international norms, she said, as she urged the international community to take notice of the situation and the resulting risk of genocide and ethnic cleansing in the valley.