AJK People’s Party seeks Bilawal as Kashmir committee chairman

Published March 22, 2024
AJK Legislative Assembly Speaker and senior PPP leader Chaudhry Latif Akbar (middle) speaks at a press conference in Muzaffarabad on Thursday alongside cabinet members Syed Bazil Naqvi (left) and Sardar Javaid Ayub (right). — Photo by author
AJK Legislative Assembly Speaker and senior PPP leader Chaudhry Latif Akbar (middle) speaks at a press conference in Muzaffarabad on Thursday alongside cabinet members Syed Bazil Naqvi (left) and Sardar Javaid Ayub (right). — Photo by author

MUZAFFARABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Legislative Assembly speaker and senior Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Chaudhry Latif Akbar has proposed that his party’s chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari should be appointed as chief of the parliamentary Kashmir committee.

He put forward this suggestion at a press conference along with two cabinet members — Sardar Javaid Ayub and Syed Bazil Ali Naqvi — from his party, here on Thursday.

“We want the next parliamentary Kashmir committee to be non-passive, performing its functions with a missionary zeal in accordance with the aspirations and expectations of the freedom-seeking Kashmiris and the people of Pakistan… In order to see this happen, the committee must be headed by a down-to-earth, knowledgeable and energized parliamentarian,” Mr Akbar stressed.

Though PPP had not accepted any official position in the federal government, the way Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari had represented the standpoint of his country in general and that of the Kashmiris in particular across the globe as the foreign minister of Pakistan for 16 months, he was the most befitting personality to head the parliamentary Kashmir committee, he added.

Mr Akbar pointed out that India had been taking one after the other dreadful step to suppress the freedom struggle after stripping occupied Jammu and Kashmir of its special status in August 2019 and in its latest harrowing move it had banned several pro-freedom parties in the occupied territory.

“The ban on Jammu and Kashmir People’s Freedom League, Jammu and Kashmir People’s League, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Muslim Conference, Jammu Kashmir National Front under several black laws is aimed at wooing fanatic Hindu voters ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. This is extremely condemnable,” he said.

“They [Indian government] claim themselves to be the largest democracy but are not ready to give political space to anyone in occupied Kashmir… They are not willing to give even those rights to the Kashmiris which are enshrined in their own constitution and laws,” he added.

Mr Akbar called upon the government of Pakistan to raise this issue at all forums, including the OIC and global human rights bodies, with full force.

The federal government should also hold a debate on it in the Parliament, he said.

Reminding India that its worst ever repressive measures over the past 76 years had failed to quell the quest of Kashmiris for freedom, he advised Indian leadership to exercise prudence rather than being jingoists.

“India must lift all kinds of curbs in occupied Kashmir, release unlawfully detained thousands of Kashmiris and their leaders and create an environment conducive to holding dialogue for peaceful settlement of Kashmir issue,“he said.

Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2024

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