Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani on Sunday said that the Upper House of parliament had arranged a national parliamentarians’ conference on Kashmir at the Convention Centre Islamabad on Wednesday to highlight the Kashmir issue, condemn Indian brutalities and chalk out a unanimous strategy to cope with the situation. The representatives from Senate, National Assembly, provincial and legislative assemblies, international experts and all stakeholders of the Kashmir cause would attend the conference.While explicating upon the need of the conference and the complexity of the situation, he remarked that Kashmir was bleeding under brutal Indian aggression and demanded international attention.“The people of Indian-held Kashmir (IHK) are being subjected to worse human rights abuses and under such a crisis, we can no longer afford to remain on the side-lines. This situation calls for action from the parliamentarians,” he said. On the other hand, in his message on International Day of Democracy, he said that democratic dispensation was not only pivotal to rule of law and basic human rights, but it was also a precursor and catalyst of sustainable peace and development, since political institutions critical to economic development were more likely to exist and function effectively under democratic rule.Likewise, improvement in political rights and civil liberties in democratic societies tend to produce much higher growth, he said. He said that only democracy offered ground fertile enough to nurture deep-rooted freedom of expression, institutional checks and balances, and protection of individual liberties and rights.He said that marking of 15 September as International Day of Democracy gives an opportunity to recall and reaffirm “our commitment to realising shared ideals of peace and stability, shared prosperity, human rights, equality, tolerance, pluralism, inclusiveness and good governance” as the key attributes and indicators of a robust democracy.The Senate chairman said that Pakistan celebrated the International Day of Democracy this year at the most defining moment in its history.Marked by an unmistakable progressive dynamism, Pakistan, despite challenges, was rising like phoenix as a responsible, peace-loving and democratic country committed to reinforcing democracy and ensuring peace, equality and justice for all. “Our national democratic ethos was firmly rooted in our Constitution which enshrined the ideals and principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice,” he said.While talking about the role of parliament, Sanjrani remarked that “today, our parliament was far more connected, open and transparent” due to its proactive public outreach and enhanced gender and youth inclusive approach.“In particular, the Upper House took challenges to democracy and parliament in its stride and endeavoured to turn over a new leaf of parliamentary and democratic excellence,” he added. He said that as a symbol of democratic continuity, the Senate stands out for providing sober second thought and amplifying the genuine voices of diverse regions with democratic legitimacy.The Upper House had gone the extra mile to strengthen democracy by building greater national cohesion, infusing solidarity among federating units, and maintaining the delicate equilibrium of giving equal representation to federating units, thereby strengthening both the federation and democracy, he said.He said September 15 was an important occasion to review “our progress, celebrate and reinforce achievements and make more conducive future course of action towards further augmenting democratisation process”, especially representative institutions, as also reaffirmed in the IPU’s Universal Declaration of Democracy adopted in September 1997 in Cairo. “This is also the day of raising public awareness about democracy and its crucial link to people s wellbeing, their aspirations and dreams of a better life,” he concluded.