Parliamentarians criticise Foreign Ministry’s impotence on Kashmir issue

Parliamentarians criticise Foreign Ministry’s  impotence on Kashmir issue

ISLAMABAD: Parliamentarians strongly criticised the foreign ministry on not making effective policy on the Kashmir issue, terming it a total failure and demanded it be revisited. The National Assembly Standing Committee on Human Rights met here on Wednesday under the chairmanship of MNA Babar Nawaz Khan. The Committee discussed the violation of Human Rights in Indian held Kashmir by Indian Forces.

Briefing the committee, Additional Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zulfiqar Gardezi spoke about the existing policy of the government on Kashmir issue. He said that after the extra judicial killing of Burhan Wani last year in July, the situation had worsened in Indian held Kashmir, where Indian forces were using lethal force against unarmed Kashmiris. Due to brutalities, more than 150 civilians have been killed, 17,000 injured, and more than 150 have permanently blinded due to the use of pellet guns.

He said a curfew had been imposed in Indian occupied Kashmir for about 140 days, which severely restricted the movement of people. Even patients were not allowed to reach hospitals. More than 12,000 have been illegally detained. Gardezi said Pakistan had taken different numerous initiatives and highlighted the Kashmir issue at UN, OIC and other international forums. By virtue of these efforts, the UN Human Rights Council wants to send its fact finding mission in IHK but Indian had denied it permission.

He said that this time, the OIC had responded stronger than previously on Kashmir issue. Recently, they had passed resolutions twice, accepting the principled stance of Pakistan.

He confessed that Pakistan did not get any response from the international community which was desired on the Kashmir issue, but it was not the Foreign Office's fault. He said that each country had its own interests, which was proving to be a major hurdle. He said that Kashmir was the cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign policy.

Speaking on the Kulbhushan Yadsv episode, he said that Adviser to Prime Minister Sartaj Aziz never said that lack of evidence was the hurdle in handing over of a dossier to the UN. He said in a response to a query that in some countries, the hiring of lobbyists was legal whereas it was illegal in others.

The Committee recommended that the government of Pakistan grant sufficient funds to the Ministry of Human Rights for making a Child Protection Centre, so that international-standard opportunities could be provided to minor children.