Opposition, govt in unison over Indian excesses in Valley

Published October 4, 2016
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif shakes hands with PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari prior to the meeting of parliamentary party leaders on Monday.—APP
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif shakes hands with PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari prior to the meeting of parliamentary party leaders on Monday.—APP

ISLAMABAD: The country’s political leadership unanimously condemned Indian aggression on the Line of Control (LoC) and called for giving the people of Kashmir the right to self-determination.

In a lengthy communiqué issued after the meeting that was chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, political parties across the board called for more aggressive diplomatic forays to highlight atrocities committed against the people of India-held Kashmir.

In concrete terms, the meeting recommended the reconstitution of the National Security Committee of parliament to coordinate national security efforts — a proposal the government immediately accepted. At the same time, participants also “called upon the PM to strengthen national unity to deal with external threats and in that spirit all current national issues be resolved so as to build democratic and parliamentary inclusion”.

While there was no direct reference to the ongoing controversy surrounding the Panama Papers in the statement, many observers felt the stress on the timely resolution of national issues was an indirect reference towards the issue.

Reconstitution of National Security Committee of parliament recommended

Moreover, those present at the reception said the prime minister accorded a warm welcome to politicians who had sided with him on the Panamagate issue, whereas his opponents were kept virtually at arm’s length, being accorded only formal handshakes.

During the meeting, a participant told Dawn, Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari asked the prime minister to accept the opposition’s bill on the proposed Panama Papers Inquiry Commission to rid the country of the menace of corruption. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi was also for the effective resolution of the Panamagate affair in order to further build national unity at this critical point in time.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Mr Bhutto-Zardari hoped that the government would listen to the opposition’s demand on Panamagate.

While the young PPP leader appreciated Imran Khan’s stance against corruption, he criticised the PTI chairman’s tendency to go ahead without taking others on board. “At a moment when all opposition parties have taken a collective stand against corruption, Mr Khan has announced his next steps without offering a concrete way forward.”

Mr Bhutto-Zardari was happy that his late mother’s stand — that there could only be a peaceful solution to the Kashmir issue — was accepted by all political parties.

The communiqué unanimously resolved that “the people, the government, the political parties and the armed forces of Pakistan are firmly united in supporting the Kashmiri people’s right to self-determination, as guaranteed to them in the UNSC resolutions.

“Recognising that Indian occupation forces have killed more than 110 innocent civilians, including women and children, and blinded over 700 people by use of pellet guns during the last 87 days, we condemn the continued killings of innocent Kashmiris, which are a grave violation of human rights, and of international humanitarian laws, that we condemn the recent unprovoked Indian aggression and repeated ceasefire violations that pose a threat to regional peace and security.”

Participants also rejected Indian efforts to shift the focus from its atrocities “to suppress the indigenous uprising of the Kashmiri people for liberation from Indian occupation, to false claims of terrorism across the LOC”.

Mentioning United Nations Security Council resolutions on Kashmir, the meeting condemned India’s interference in Balochistan, a federating unit of sovereign Pakistan. “We condemn the attempts by India to destabilise Pakistan as substantiated by the capture and confession of... Kulbashan Yadav.”

India was also criticized for sabotaging the Saarc meeting, scheduled to be held in Pakistan in November.

New Delhi’s stance on the Indus Waters Treaty also came under discussion. “We condemn the stated intent by India to use water as a weapon against the people, not only of Pakistan but of the region, in flagrant violation of its international treaty obligations and state that any Indian attempts at unilateral revocation of Indus Waters Treaty shall be taken as an act of aggression.”

The resolution also rejected “ludicrous Indian claims of carrying out [a] ‘surgical strike’ across the LoC as blatantly false and brazen attempts at diverting international attention away from its atrocities in IOK”.

The meeting also appreciated the courage, valour and commitment of successive generations of Kashmiri people for their ongoing struggle for self-determination as promised to them by the international community in UN Security Council resolutions.

“We applaud the bravery and unwavering commitment of the armed forces of Pakistan for their befitting response to Indian aggression.” The meeting welcomed the decision of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to send a fact-finding mission to India-held Kashmir and supported a similar mission announced by the OIC.

“Recognizing the UN Security Council’s implementation of its resolutions on self-determination for East Timor and South Sudan, we urge the international community, especially the P5, to take concrete steps for implementation of the UN Security Council resolutions for the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people.”

The gathering also offered its support for the NAP. “Recognizing that Pakistan is engaged in an unprecedented war against terrorism and violent extremism, we reiterate our resolve to implement the National Action Plan in letter and spirit, as agreed to in the last APC.”

Published in Dawn, October 4th, 2016


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