Senate Committee Passes Resolution Calling For Curfew In IOK To Be Lifted
The Senate Standing Committee on Defence has unanimously adopted a resolution demanding the Indian Prime Minister to lift the curfew from Indian Occupied Kashmir without any further delay.
The committee, through the resolution, has appealed to the entire international community to condemn the gross human rights violations committed by the Indian government in occupied Kashmir.
The resolution also demanded that India should move towards a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UNSC resolutions.
The resolution was proposed by Senator Abdul Rehman Malik and was passed by the committee with some amendments.
The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Walid Iqbal at the Parliament House on Thursday and was attended by, among others, Senators Talha Mehmood, Javed Abbasi, Mushahid Hussain, Lt. Gen. (R) Abdul Qayyum, Anwar ul Haq Kakar, Abdul Rehman Malik, Mir Kabeer Shahi, Usman Khan Kakar, and the defence secretary, additional secretary foreign affairs and officials from the Ministry of Defence.
Some committee members objected to and expressed displeasure over the absence of the defence minister considering the complexity of the situation and the fact that important items such as Line of Control violations and the aftermath of alteration in the special status of Jammu and Kashmir were on the agenda.
The chairman of the committee undertook the responsibility of conveying the sentiments of the committee members to the defence minister. He also stated that he would ensure the minister’s presence in the next meeting so that matters related to defence, especially Indian defence minister’s recent statement regarding ‘No First Use’ of nuclear weapons, can be discussed.
The chairman of the Senate committee talked at length about the high handedness of the Indian government that has resulted in a humanitarian crisis.
Senator Rehman Malik remarked that Narendra Modi is the first head of government in the world who holds a membership of a terrorist organisation. He called upon working with Kashmiri organisations and urging them to lodge a case against Modi as a war criminal.
Additional Secretary Foreign Office Zahoor Ahmed, told the committee that Pakistan’s issue is not with the change in IOK’s status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, but with India’s intentions.
He said that according to the Simla Agreement, India cannot carry out a material change unilaterally, adding that this may lead to a demographical change in Jammu and Kashmir.
Zahoor Ahmed further stated that the humanitarian angle was also a significant part of the crisis with a complete lockdown and communications outage that was causing severe problems.
The foreign office official added that the situation might become more volatile once the curfew is lifted and Kashmiris come out to protest.
He also briefed the committee about the foreign minister’s visit to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. He apprised the committee members that a joint statement, signed by 50 members of the United Nations, expressing concerns over human right violations in IOK was also issued in Geneva.
Prime minister to meet with heads of states:
The committee was informed that on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly speech, the prime minister will hold meetings with seven to eight heads of state.
Senator Rehman Malik suggested that the prime minister should make the demand for implementation of UN Resolutions a part of his speech.
Moreover, committee members stressed upon fully activating the Kashmir cell at the Foreign Office and making use of media to help in dealing with the issue.
The committee was told that Modi had miscalculated the reaction of the people of Kashmir, Pakistan, as well as the international community by committing this blunder.
Senator Mushahid Hussain observed that Pakistan should formally condemn Netanyahu’s statement on replicating the Modi model in Palestine.
Furthermore, matters involving firing across the LOC, the resultant civilian casualties, the border tensions with Afghanistan also came under discussion.
The author is a reporter based in Islamabad.