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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, Wednesday, said that “there is no change whatsoever in Pakistan’s position on the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir and the country’s stance is anchored on the United Nations Security Council resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir dispute.”

He was briefing the members of the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir here at the Parliament House, which was chaired by Shehryar Khan Afridi, the chairman of the committee.

The spokesperson also explained the official position with regard to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks in Kotli, AJK on 5th February, 2021, where the premier had stated: “when the residents of Indian-occupied Kashmir as well as Azad Kashmir get the right to decide their future, and when the people of Kashmir will choose Pakistan, InshAllah, then Pakistan will give Kashmiris the right to decide whether they want to become a part of Pakistan or remain independent.”

The question was raised by opposition member of the committee Khurram Dastagir Khan of the PML-N.

Chaudhri said that the prime minister’s statement made in Kotli was consistent with Pakistan’s longstanding policy on Jammu and Kashmir dispute and Pakistan would continue its support of Kashmiris at all forums.

He said that the recent understanding between the Pakistani and Indian military to observe the Line of Control agreement of year 2003 was aimed at saving lives and properties of the Kashmiri people living on both sides of the LoC.

“To save Kashmiri lives and to provide some comfort to Kashmiris on both sides of the LoC, it was necessary to abide by [the] ceasefire agreement,” he said.

He said the focus was on purely military understanding on military mechanisms reached about ceasefire on the LoC.

He said Pakistan believes that any violation of ceasefire agreement may jeopardise regional peace and may also hurt the Kashmiris living on both sides of the LoC.

“There is absolutely no change in Pakistan’s stance on resolving Kashmir dispute through dialogue and under the UN resolutions on Kashmir dispute,” he said.

However, the chairman of the committee observed that the questions raised by Khurram Dastagir Khan would be addressed by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the next meeting.

Pemra Chairman Saleem Ahmed said that 50 TV channels had given specific time to coverage of Kashmir issue and 38 channels had covered Kashmir in terms of documentaries, songs, and programmes.

He said only in February, 10 hours coverage was given by each TV channel.

While the Prime Minister’s speech in Kotli was covered by 48 TV channels.

He said that the PEMRA can direct private channels to air 10 percent content under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Chairman Kashmir Committee Shehryar Khan suggested that the private TV channels should develop tele-films, dramas and special awareness programmes to project awareness on Kashmir dispute.

The chairman Kashmir Committee also took exception to the absence of regional head of social media site, Facebook, from the committee meeting, wherein, the official refused to attend the meeting.

Afridi directed the chairman PTA to ensure that the Facebook regional representative attend the next meeting of the Committee, and respond to the questions raised by the committee members.

The chairman PTA briefed that the Facebook did not block a single account of a Pakistani user while one account was reported in year 2020.

He said that the PTA was in contact with the Facebook and the organisation was establishing its office in Pakistan to ensure compliance with the local laws.

The chairman of the committee directed the PTA chairman to ensure compliance of State policy protocols by the social media site.

He asked the PTA chairman to fix an online meeting with the regional representative of Facebook to ensure that Kashmiri and Pakistani users were provided equal opportunities at social media sites.

The committee also passed a resolution to welcome the commitment shown by Prime Minister Imran Khan for linking the resolution of Kashmir dispute with regional peace and stability.

The resolution acknowledged the role played by Prime Minister Imran Khan as an ambassador for Kashmiris, and extended full support to the efforts being made for resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

The resolution stated that the Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan per the vision of the Father of the Nation, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, and said that Pakistan would resolve the Kashmir dispute in line with the United Nations resolutions on the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir.

The resolution demanded the United Nations Human Rights Council and other international Human Rights organisations to ensure immediate release of all the political prisoners of the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, especially senior leaders of the Hurriyat Conference who have been put behind bars for decades without any conviction.

The resolution specifically called for release of Syed Shabbir Shah, Masarat Alam Bhat, Yasin Malik, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Ashraf Sehrai, Asiya Andrabi, Fehmida Sofi, Naheeda Nasreen, and others, who have been subjected to inhuman treatment in prisons and demanded to shift all the women prisoners of the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir back to Kashmiri prisons.

The resolution also called for provision of basic facilities, medical assistance and access of families to the Kashmiri prisoners, who are mostly shifted to the infamous, Tehar Jail of India.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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