ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan took serious notice of the absence of the Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan and were of the view that the minister’s presence was imperative to discuss policy matters.

The Committee meeting was chaired by Senator Professor Sajid Mir.

It was also decided that a meeting must be held prior to 5th August 2021, in order to show solidarity with Kashmiris in the Illegally Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), showing support for the Kashmiri cause.

While listening to the spokesperson from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, members recommended that details of all efforts made by the ministry must be shared with the Committee in an in-Camera meeting.

Details of international stance on the subject were stressed.

Spokesperson Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the Committee that the government of Pakistan (GOP) was pursuing a three-pronged policy to highlight the issue internationally that included the legal aspect and the human rights and peace and security concerns in the IIOJK.

The Committee was informed that two human rights reports were published under the UN umbrella, highlighting the plight of Kashmiris, sparking international dialogue.

Members of the Committee asserted that measures ascertained by the ministry are not enough and that there is more to be done to ensure that Kashmiris are accorded their rights. Chairman Committee Senator Sajid Mir opined that the Kashmiri right of self-determination was the main tenet of the Kashmir cause, which has been sidelined in the wake of human rights violations in the valley.

He asserted that the ministry must not lose focus and ensure that the Kashmiri right of self-determination is pursued relentlessly.

He said that it is important to understand once the right of self-determination is achieved, human rights violations will end.

He stressed that the sacrifices made by Kashmiris in the IIOJK must not be forgotten.

Some members volunteered that visits must be arranged on self-finance basis, so that the Kashmiri cause must be highlighted on every international forum.

The meeting was attended by senators, Falak Naz, Palwasha Muhammad Zai Khan, Muhammad Qasim, Shahdat Awan, Kamran Michael, and Shaheen Khalid Butt, and senior officers from the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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