ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Friday hailed a statement of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Kashmir and decided to give representation to Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan and opposition parties in the committee recently formed by the prime minister to explore response to the latest Indian move regarding occupied Kashmir.
“The federal cabinet admired the UN secretary general for endorsing our and people of Kashmir’s stance,” said Special Assistant to the Prime Minister Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan in a post-meeting press conference.
She said the cabinet approved all the decisions taken by the joint session of the parliament and National Security Committee (NSC), while committee members also expressed complete confidence in whatever decision the prime minister would take on Kashmir.
The UN secretary general in a statement called on all parties to refrain from taking steps that could affect the status of Jammu and Kashmir. He also expressed concerned over reports of restrictions in India-held Kashmir that could exacerbate the human rights situation in the region.
In the wake of the Indian attempt to change the disputed status of Kashmir unilaterally, Prime Minister Imran Khan had formed a seven-member committee with the heads of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Military Intelligence (MI) and Inter-Services Public Relations as its members.
The committee was tasked to explore and recommend legal, political and diplomatic response to the latest developments regarding India-held Kashmir.
The cabinet in its meeting on Friday decided to expand the committee by giving representation to the opposition, Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan, AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider and Gilgit-Baltistan Governor Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon.
Dr Awan said PM Khan also decided to expose Indian government’s designs through the media. She said the cabinet decided that the nation would express solidarity with Kashmiri brethren on the occasion of Independence Day on Aug 14.
PM calls Bahrain king
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan telephoned the King of Bahrain, His Majesty Shaikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, and apprised him of the evolving situation in the India-held Kashmir and Indian violation of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution.
Mr Khan said Pakistan rejected the Indian government move as it was in violation of the UNSC resolution. He stressed that India-held Kashmir was an internationally recognised disputed territory and no unilateral step by the Indian government could change the disputed status as maintained in the UNSC resolution. He urged the international community to play its role to stop India from this irresponsible and unilateral action to maintain peace and stability in the region.
The Bahrain king said his government was closely monitoring the developments in Kashmir with deep concern and expressed the hope that all issues would be resolved through dialogue.
Earlier during the cabinet meeting, it was decided that Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) would be provided Rs55.5 million to clean Karachi with the help of all stakeholders.
The cabinet also decided to ease the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) restriction on the construction of highrise buildings near airports in Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Peshawar. “Prime Minister directed civil aviation to come up with recommendations to provide ease to the builders in the next meeting,” Dr Awan added.
Published in Dawn, August 10th, 2019