Condemning the atrocities in Indian-Held Kashmir (IHK) after the Pulwama incident, a legislative body of Upper House of Parliament on Tuesday warned India that Pakistan would respond if India tried to attack any part of the boundary. “Indians should stop threatening Pakistan after Pulwama incident as accumulation of forces on the border may lead to a disaster,” Senator Lieutenant General (r) Abdul Qayyum said during the Senate Standing Committee on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan, which was held at Parliament House. Senator Sajid Mir was in chair. As the meeting commenced, Lieutenant General (r) Abdul Qayyum said that after accumulation of forces, there was a possibility of attack somewhere in a particular point of time but the same would be reciprocated. The meeting commenced with condemnation of India’s irresponsible statements regarding Pakistan’s involvement in the Pulwama attack. General (r) Abdul Qayyum asserted that a surgical attack on Pakistan would be tantamount to an act of war and assured that Pakistan would respond strongly. This, he said, was a reaction to India’s iron handedness and use of force in IHK. He appealed that the United Nations (UN) must take action according to the recommendations made in the UN Commissioner for Human Rights Report published in June, 2018. The report says that a fact finding mission must monitor the situation in Kashmir. Senator Rehman Malik said that the government and opposition stand on one page on the Kashmir issue. He presented a set of 21 questions to the Indian government, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights and Interpol. He presented a resolution to the committee which was passed unanimously. The committee demanded investigation through the attached 21 questions. It stated that only an investigation would determine whether it was a security lapse or an attempt to replicate the Samjhota Express incident. Rehman Malik told the committee that India’s claim of Pakistan’s involvement within five minutes of the attack showed that it had mala fide intentions. He said that he looked forward to a strong statement regarding the attack from Prime Minister Imran Khan. Abdul Qayyum said that UN Military Observer Group India & Pakistan must be given permission to investigate on both sides of the Line Of Control and that Amnesty International be allowed to monitor the situation as well. The agenda before the committee was budget cuts and its implications, details of scholarships and budgetary allocations and its utilisation and awarding of scholarships in Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan (GB). While discussing budgetary cuts in the annual budgets of AJK and GB, it was revealed that a total budgetary rationalisation of Rs 3.52 billion and Rs 3.79 billion had been enforced respectively. The original 2018-2019 allocation for AJK and GB was Rs 29.87 billion and Rs 21.32 billion respectively. The committee showed displeasure regarding these cuts. Deliberating over budget utilisation in AJK and GB, the committee was informed that out of a total of Rs 25.86 billion in AJK, Rs 8.69 billion had been released out of which Rs 8.26 billion had been utilised. In GB, the total allocation was Rs 17.53 billion out of which Rs 3.01 billion was released. Total utilised budget was of Rs 2.83 billion. While discussing details of scholarships awarded to students in AJK and GB, the committee recommended that the ministry must provide an increase in the amount and a minimum of Rs 10,000 must be awarded to the students. Kashmir Affairs Minister Ali Amin Gandapur assured the committee that the ministry was looking at increasing the number of awarded scholarships and stipend rates. Senators Lieutenant General (r) Salahuddin Tirmizi, Qayyum, Anwar Lal Deen, Raja Muhammad Zafarul Haq, Dr Shahzad Wasim, Malik, Nighat Mirza and senior officers of the Kashmir & GB Affairs Ministry, GB & AJK government, the Finance Division and Higher Education Commission were present. Published in Daily Times, February 20th 2019.