ISLAMABAD: Political leadership of the country on Saturday expressed alarm over use of cluster ammunition by India along the Line of Control (LoC) in violation of international law and urged the international community to take notice of Indian actions that threaten region’s peace.
While condemning the alarming move, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and PML-N president Shahbaz Sharif asked the government to immediately convene an in-camera joint session of parliament to take lawmakers into confidence over the grave situation.
Observing that Narendra Modi was playing with fire, he warned the Indian government against revoking Article 35-A of the Constitution that accords special status to India-held Kashmir, noting that such an insane move would be tantamount to inviting nuclear war in South Asia.
Mr Sharif described the plan to change the demography of the disputed territories as a dangerous conspiracy that violated the UN Security Council resolutions on the Kashmir dispute as well as international law.
He said the government should immediately take the parliament into confidence over the serious developments. A national strategy should be formulated on the matter and the issue should be raised in the UN Security Council.
For his part, former president Asif Ali Zardari said state terrorism by India along the LoC should be exposed internationally. He characterised the use of cluster ammunition against a civilian population as a barbaric act.
In a statement, he expressed concern over the increasing incidents of violence in held Kashmir and regretted that even children and elderly people were not being spared. India’s terrorism was a threat to regional as well as international peace, Mr Zardari added.
Speaking at a news conference, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari also condemned the use of cluster bombs by Indian forces in Kashmir. “Use of cluster bombs by Indian Army in Kashmir is outrageous. India continues to flout international conventions in its bloody attempt to stifle aspirations of the people of Kashmir,” he said.
“The world continues to ignore the human rights catastrophe. This must change if we are to have peace,” the PPP chairman added.
PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz Sharif said every Pakistani would support their Kashmiri brothers and sisters until they achieved their cherished goal of self-determination.
She said the use of cluster bombs against unarmed and peaceful civilians had served to expose India’s cruel face before the world.
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani too demanded immediate convening of a joint session of parliament to discuss the disturbing situation in Kashmir.
In his first statement after surviving a no-confidence resolution against him, Mr Sanjrani condemned the unprovoked firing by Indian forces in Neelum valley and asked the international community to take notice of India’s state terrorism and use of cluster ammunition along the LoC.
He said issues related to the situation in Kashmir should be debated thoroughly in parliament. “The president is requested to immediately summon a joint session of parliament.”
He noted that the joint stance of the nation and their public representatives should be conveyed to the international community.
Leader of the House in the Senate Syed Shibli Faraz said the world community should not shut its eyes to the use of cluster ammunition by India against a civilian population in violation of international law.
He said the irresponsible act by India had exposed its real face before the world.
Mr Faraz observed that sustained peace in South Asia was not possible without settlement of the core issue of Jammu and Kashmir.
In a tweet, PPP’s parliamentary leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman said cluster ammunition could “not be used along the LoC” where innocent civilians were being targeted by India in the most heinous ways. “Is UN not going to reprimand Delhi on its blatant violation of the Convention on Cluster Ammunition, not to mention all international laws?”
Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2019