The joint session of the Parliament continued its discussion on the deteriorating situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir on Wednesday, after the Indian government revoked Article 370 of the constitution which granted special autonomy to the disputed Himalayan region.
Taking part in the session, which resumed with Senate chairman Sadiq Sanjrani in the chair, Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari condemned the move and said India’s attempts to change the status of occupied Kashmir were not only illegal but also in violation of the Geneva Convention, which attributes any change in demographic composition of held territory as war crime.
The scrapping of Articles 370 and 35-A violated the Shimla Accord, the decisions of India’s superior courts and all international norms, she said, as she urged the international community to take notice of the situation and the resulting risk of genocide and ethnic cleansing in the valley.
On India’s use of cluster ammunition against civilians in Azad Kashmir, Mazari noted that both Pakistan and India are signatories to the Convention on Cluster Munitions and India’s actions were in clear violation of the agreement. Pakistan will use all international platforms to draw attention of the world towards the grave situation in occupied Kashmir, she added.
Leader of the Opposition in Senate Raja Zafar-ul-Haq said Pakistan needs to mobilise the international public opinion against India’s actions, which were violating Kashmiris’s rights. The UN Charter binds its members to avoid steps that are discriminatory to native populations, he pointed out.
Amir Jamaat-e-Islami Siraj-ul-Haq reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for its Kashmiri brethren and said India would never succeed in its nefarious plan to suppress the right to self-determination of Kashmiris through use of brute force.
Speculating that India revoked Article 370 in connivance with the US and other world powers, Siraj called for an international conference in Islamabad to highlight the Kashmir issue to delegates from around the world.
'Kashmir issue second major incident after East Pakistan'
Speaking on the floor of the House, former president Asif Ali Zardari said the deteriorating situation in occupied Kashmir was the second major incident after the separation of East Pakistan.
"The Kashmir issue is the second major incident after the separation of East Pakistan. Pakistan Peoples Party was formed for the cause of Kashmir. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, after negotiations, took back the land from Indira Gandhi,” Zardari said.
“India will be divided because of Modi’s thinking. Muslims of India and occupied Kashmir now understand the two-nation theory of Quaid-e-Azam," the PPP co-chairman continued.
“Does India not know there is tailor-made democracy in Pakistan?" he questioned.
"If this situation had happened during my tenure, I would have gone to UAE, China, Russia and Iran. We should keep our friends [close]."
Raza Rabbani laments inactive role of Parliament in policy-making
Senator Raza Rabbani began to address the House, saying that he is grateful for the chance to speak up on such a pertinent issue.
Rabbani said that the state since 1947 didn’t let the Parliament partake actively in policy-making, especially in foreign policy and issues of national security.
The senator said that now the country is witnessing the doings of the past manifest themselves in the form of failure.
“Pakistan has been losing its credibility and influence in the international corridors of power,” said the former chairman Senate.
Rabbani lamented that the elite of the country served their own interests instead of the national interest.
Rabbani also dismissed the PM’s constitution of seven-member committee on the issue, saying it should include representatives from both sides.
Rabbani referred to the recent tours of the PM Imran to several countries.
He said that Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad in his statement said that they are closely monitoring the situation.
The senator said that despite the visit of PM Imran to the US, the state department’s statement said that India maintained that Kashmir was its internal issue.