Pak parliament condemns alleged rights violations in Kashmir

The resolutions adopted by the Senate and the National Assembly last night called on the world community to take note of the "oppression" of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. They urged the United Nations to ensure the implementation of resolutions on Kashmir and asked the Pakistan government to continue supporting the Kashmiris.

This was the second such move on the Kashmir issue by the current parliament. However, a senior member of the Awami National Party dissociated his party from the resolutions shortly after their adoption.

The chairman of parliament's Special Committee on Kashmir, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, moved the resolution in the National Assembly or lower house.

The voting was followed by a brief debate on an opposition-backed adjournment motion on the same issue.

Leader of Opposition Wasim Sajjad moved the resolution in the Senate or upper house of parliament.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who was in the National Assembly, asked the House to take up the resolution immediately so the "international community is sensitised" about human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Kashmir is an important issue and there is a need to sensitise the international community on human rights violations in occupied Kashmir," Gilani said.

The National Assembly also demanded that Indian authorities should end a media "blackout", lift curfew, and release arrested Kashmiri leaders and youngsters.

The Senate called on the government to raise the "violation" of basic human rights in Jammu and Kashmir at all international forums, including the UN.

Both Houses called on the government to continue supporting the Kashmiri people's "right to self-determination" and to offer diplomatic and moral support for their "freedom struggle."

However, Awami National Party lawmaker Pervaiz Khan said his party is not part of the resolution in the National Assembly as it was not aware of its contents.

He said the movers had failed to consult the ANP. "We agree with the part regarding human rights violations as we always advocated human rights. But this violation also continues elsewhere," Khan said.

"We shall have to see human rights violation alike anywhere and in any country," Khan said, raising the issue of human rights of the people of the tribal regions and Balochistan. He said Pakistan should seek the solution of contentious issues with India through dialogue.

Following a hard-line speech by PML-N lawmaker Safdar Khan, who said jihad rather than resolutions would solve the Kashmir problem, Pervaiz Khan questioned the use of the parliament's committee on Kashmir, describing it as an interference in India's affairs.

The ANP lawmaker's remarks angered Safdar Khan and other PML-N members, including Mahmood Bashir Virk, who said such comments "appeared to have been said not in the Pakistani parliament but in the Indian parliament."

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