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ISLAMABAD: National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser has written a letter to his counterparts in at least 178 parliaments and to the heads of global and regional parliamentary organisations all over the world, inviting their attention to the deteriorating situation in South Asia and the recent aggressive acts of India.

The speaker has also sent a copy of the resolution unanimously passed by parliament during its joint session last week.

According to an official announcement by the National Assembly Secretariat on Sunday, the speaker is also heading to Rabat (Morocco) to attend the 14th session of the four-day Parliamentary Union of the OIC Member States (PUIC) conference starting from March 11 where Pakistan has moved two resolutions in the Specialised Committee on Political Affairs and Foreign Relations and Specialised Committee on Human Rights, Women and Family Affairs, drawing Ummah’s attention to the ongoing Indian barbarism in held Kashmir.

The speaker has instructed all parliamentary friendship groups in the National Assembly to organise meetings with the diplomatic community in Islamabad as well as their counterpart assemblies to highlight Pakistan’s case and its efforts to de-escalate tension in the region.

Asad Qaiser to attend Rabat conference starting from March 11

In his letter, the speaker has apprised parliaments of the world of the continued violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by India, which has brought the region to the brink of war and devastation.

Mr Qaiser said Indian aircraft, which had violated the Pakistan’s airspace on Feb 26, were effectively intercepted by Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jets and forced to withdraw while randomly releasing their ordnance that landed in Pakistan’s uninhabited remote area. Pakistan, he said, strongly rejected the Indian purported claims of having targeted any installation and resultant causalities.

“It is completely absurd and is based on a false narrative designed to placate domestic audience. Pakistan, while reserving its right to respond against Indian aggression, kept its calm and warned India to avoid further escalating the situation,” the speaker wrote in the letter. He said India had also continued unprovoked ceasefire violations at the Line of Control (LoC) in the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir, resulting in deaths of several innocent civilians.

Mr Qaiser in his letter narrated the whole incident as to how the PAF responded to the second violation of Pakistan’s airspace the next day and shot down of two intruding Indian fighter aircraft and arrested an Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman when his military jet MIG-21 crashed in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

The speaker shared his counterparts that Prime Minister Imran Khan announced the Indian pilot’s return as a goodwill gesture aimed at de-escalating rising tensions with India. “This noble gesture clearly establishes that Pakistan has no intention of escalation, but as a self-respecting nation is prepared to do so if forced into that paradigm. For the last few years, India has been trying to establish what they call ‘a new normal’ — a thinly veiled term for doing acts of aggression at whatever pretext they wish on a given day,” the speaker said.

He also has informed the international community if India is striking at so-called terrorist backers without a shred of evidence, Pakistan also retains reciprocal rights to retaliate against elements that enjoy Indian patronage while carrying out acts of terror in Pakistan.

He said Pakistan did not wish to go to that route and desired that India gave peace a chance and to resolve issues through dialogue as a mature democratic nation, adding that the deteriorating situation between Pakistan and India could only be normalised by amicably resolving the Kashmir issue. Otherwise, he said, peace in the region would remain an elusive dawn. He added that Pakistan had also offered India numerous times for talks on Kashmir.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan offered peace and dialogue soon after his election and took a great leap forward by opening the Kartarpur corridor between the two countries, enabling the Indian citizens to freely visit their sacred places of worship, situated on Pakistan’s side of border,” Mr Qaiser added.

The speaker said India was trying to divert the international community’s attention to hide its cruelties in India-held Kashmir. “India has also been indulging in the senseless attempt to portray the indigenous Kashmiri movement for self-determination as terrorism. But the international community has rejected the Indian claim of equating Kashmiri struggle for self-determination with terrorism. The very scale at which the current movement has spread clearly reflects it being indigenous,” he said.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2019