LAHORE: Lawmakers unanimously passed a resolution to express solidarity with the Kashmiri people in the special session of the Punjab Assembly and strongly condemned Indian atrocities inflicted on innocent people in Indian-held Kashmir.
However, no legislators of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) showed up in the special session despite the fact that there are eight MPAs of the party in the Punjab Assembly. Leader of the House Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Opposition leader Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Rana Sana Ullah were not present in the House either.
The Kashmir Day on February 5 is being observed since the early 1990s when Benazir Bhutto was the prime minister of Pakistan.
The resolution was moved by Minister for Human Rights and Minorities Affairs Khalil Tahir Sandhu, demanding the implementation of Kashmir resolutions passed by the United Nations. According to the resolution, “The Kashmiris should be given the right to self-determination and India should withdraw its troops. The Indian aggression against Kashmiris should be stopped.” The House demanded the federal government continue the diplomatic, moral, political support to Kashmiris. It also appealed to the international community to play its role in giving legal right to the Kashmiris to live in their land and the holding of a plebiscite in Kashmir in the light of UN resolution. The House assured Kashmiris that the Pakistani nation is with them.
An MPA from the opposition party, Shunila Ruth, said: “It hurts us badly when it is said that Kashmir is the issue of Muslims. It is not the issue of Muslims only, but it is the issue of everyone belonging to every minority community.”
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPA Dr Nausheen Hamid said that Indian Army had enforced an act called Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which helps them in going scot-free despite the fact that they are killing innocent people.
She said that Pakistan had no proper policy to highlight Kashmir issue on an international level. She added that they were not lobbying the cause of Kashmir in a proper manner. PTI’s Sibtain Khan stressed the need to examine the performance of ‘Kashmir Committee’. Pakistan Muslim League-Q’s (PML-Q) Khadija Umar said that the international community did not seem serious in resolving the Kashmir issue because it is the issue of Muslim community.
As the Jamaat-e-Islami leader, Dr Waseem Akhtar quoted Nawaz Sharif’s speech that ‘a line is drawn between two countries be eliminated’ pandemonium was witnessed. PML-N lawmaker Rana Arshad said those who created unrest amongst the people are doing politics in the name of Kashmiris. Mian Tariq Mehmood of PML-N said that the opposition should avoid such comments on the Kashmir Day.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 6th, 2018.