–FM Qureshi urges opposition not to undermine govt’s efforts on Kashmir front
ISLAMABAD: The opposition parties on Wednesday criticised the government’s alleged inability to highlight the Kashmir issue at world forums, saying a ‘diplomatic emergency’ must be declared to effectively highlight the Kashmir cause.
The National Assembly session convened on Wednesday and will continue till December 20. During this session, the Lower House will debate on matters of public interest and importance along with legislation, it was agreed during the meeting.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ahsan Iqbal criticised Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) tepid response to the Kashmir crisis and said that if the body does not agree to call a session on the issue, Pakistan should “immediately announce its exit”.
“We don’t need a dead forum that cannot even call a session on [occupied] Kashmir,” he declared.
He appealed to the foreign minister to visit at least 10 to 15 countries over the next 15 days and inform foreign governments about the situation in occupied Kashmir “so that the world can know that this is a panic situation”.
“Thirdly, envoys should be sent [to important capitals] immediately, send parliamentary delegations if you must, but rouse the world. If you don’t shake the world awake and tell them that this is a calamity, who will raise this issue?”
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader and former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf regretted that the government had failed to even force India to lift the curfew in occupied Kashmir.
In response, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi urged the opposition not to “minimise” Pakistan’s efforts in this regard.
“When Pakistan’s efforts are minimised, you are being minimised and Pakistan’s stance is being weakened. Please, do not minimise what Pakistan has done. Yes, contribute and add to what we have done and if you have positive suggestions, God willing, we will incorporate them into our thinking,” he added.
“On this issue and on issues of national interest, we are open to input […] the input and the voice of this House do not weaken our hands but strengthen them,” the foreign minister said.
He assured the House that the New Delhi’s move of abrogating occupied Kashmir’s special status was being condemned by Indian politicians.
Munir Orakzai, a lawmaker hailing from former FATA, challenged Qureshi’s claim that the PTI government had taken a lead among all the previous governments on highlighting and internationalising Kashmir.
Asking the government to focus on tribal districts, he said the people living in the area were facing hurdle as the government failed to introduce a new setup after the former system was abolished. They have not been given the amount which was promised for the development of the region, he added.
Meanwhile, the opposition visited the speaker’s office to protest over the non-issuance of production orders for PML-N’s Rana Sanaullah ahead of the National Assembly’s session.