Senate body slams crackdown in IOK

Also approves suggestions for G-B, AJK budget 2019-20

Shabbir Hussain March 20, 2019
Indian forces hurl tear gas at Kashmiri protesters in Sringar. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Senate Standing Committee on Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs on Tuesday unanimously approved resolution against crackdown on human rights organisations and human rights violation in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) presented by Senator Rehman Malik.
The committee which met under the chairmanship of Prof Sajid Mir also approved the suggestions for the fiscal year 2019-20 budget of Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu Kashmir.

On the prevailing situation in IOK in the aftermath of Pulwama attack, Malik said that after the self-staged attack Indian military was exercising brutality on innocent Kashmiris. Indian aggression is increasing with each passing day even most condemnation of which doesn’t suffice, he added.
He also condemned the crackdown on human rights organisations in IOK.
Senator Lt General (retd) Salahuddin Tirmzi said that because of PM Modi’s ongoing tactics the Kashmir issue has resurfaced, which should be considered an opportunity by the government of Pakistan to benefit from.

He said that after the Pulwama attack the government was busy in normalising the situation, however, the perception that amidst such measures the Kashmir issue was being neglected must not go forward.
In order to get the first hand information about post-Pulwama situation, Tirmzi said the foreign minister should be called in committee.

Senator Shehzad Wasim said that in the light of recent UN report, “We should demand practical measures, the UN human rights commission report is an important development, which needs to be highlighted more”.

In the resolution, human rights violation, crackdown by Indian government on human rights organistaions and ban on entry of human rights observers in IOK has been condemned.

It has been demanded that the UN and international community should send its observers and take notice of Indian aggression in the region.
In the meeting, federal secretary on Kashmir Affairs said the credit goes to Kashmiris for highlighting Indian atrocities in the region.

The secretary said that in order to protect locals from Indian aggression on Line of Control, the government has devised an important package, which involves important projects. The package was being prioritised for next budget.
He also said that the Ministry for Gilgit Baltistan and Kashmir was abide to supervise the internal affairs and developmental projects. However, overseeing international affairs regarding Kashmir situation comes under foreign ministry’s jurisdiction, he added.
But still, he said the ministry was coordinating with the foreign ministry.

He said that reservations highlighted in UN Human Rights commission reports have been made up to 80 per cent through 13th Amendment in Azad Kashmir Act and G-B order 2018, however, government was preparing further amendments. And preparing a new 2019 G-B order draft through which these reservations would be eliminated, he added.

Kashmir Additional chief secretary said that demand of designating Rs43 billion for AJK in next budget has been made, in next fiscal year budget government will introduce LoC relief package.

Package includes 5km wide and 740 km long area.

According to package bunkers would be established for civilian Kashmiris for every three houses there will be one bunker.

G-B Planning Secretary Syed Abrar Hussain said that it has been suggested to designate Rs19 billion of development fund for G-B in the next fiscal year.

The resolution to G-B, Azad Kashmir electricity and gas crisis was also discussed.

The secretary said that AJK is supplied electricity from national grid, however, G-B was yet not connected to national grid and neither is there any local grid. Suggestions to designate funds for local grids in next fiscal year budget have been made.

Senator Malik said that G-B is capable of producing 40-50,000 megawatt electricity, which needs to be benefitted from.

In meeting, additional secretary said that if Kashmir gets net hydel profit percentage of Rs1.10 we would receive at least Rs12 billion annually. The matter is on ECC agenda and to be decided there. Moreover, prayers were held for Kashmiri martyrs.


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