CPA: (Commonwealth Parliamentarians seek probe into Kashmir siege)
ISLAMABAD:The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) has decided to probe the ongoing siege in the Indian Occupied Kashmir and the dissolution of its legislature, which had been a Member of the CPA.
It has asked Pakistan to submit a written application for an investigation in this matter. This was stated by the President of the General Assembly of the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, Rebeca Alitwala Kadaga, the Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda and the host of the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, says a statement issued here on Sunday.
Her statement came in wake of the powerful interventions made by Pakistan’s delegates, led by Dr Fehmida Mirza, Minister for Inter-provincial coordination.
Dr Mirza was followed by MNA Dr Aisha Ghous Pasha, who strongly objected to the continued siege of Kashmir by the Indian occupying forces, calling the Valley of Kashmir “world’s largest open-air prison”.
While drawing the attention of the General Assembly, Dr Fehmida Mirza stated that the legislature of the Indian Occupied Kashmir, which was a branch of the CPA, had been held in abeyance by the Association on account of its dismissal by the Occupied State’s Governor.
However, the CPA had neither investigated nor looked into the reasons under which even the limited and controlled representation had been snatched from the beleaguered people of Kashmir by occupying forces.
“The people of Indian occupied Kashmir are under siege since August 5. All elected representatives of IOK are under detention and deprived of any voice,” said Dr Mirza, informing the delegates that the state had remained under continued curfew for over 54 days now.
Upon undue interruption by the Indian delegation, Dr Mirza forcefully voiced her outrage for the rights of Kashmiris. Her intervention drew interest from delegates from other Member States, who joined Pakistan delegation, yelling a loud “NO” as an Indian delegate tried to call the issue an internal matter of India.
Dr Ayesha Ghous Pasha, while taking the floor, lamented the fact that the so-called largest democracy of the world had in fact choked people’s voices, where women and children were the worst victims of continued Indian aggression.
“CPA stands for defending democratic rights and freedoms of people of its member branches. If IOK is a legitimate Branch of CPA, any act of silence or shying away from the continued breach of human rights in Kashmir will cast a dark shadow on this House,” said Dr Ayesha while addressing the CPA General Assembly.
Later, as the Indian delegates tried to justify the dismissal of the Assembly of the Indian held Kashmir, he was booed down by the House. The Chair, while taking note of the situation, ruled the Executive Committee of the CPA to investigate the matter on a written complaint, as moved by the Pakistan delegation. Her ruling was received by a general applause.
An eight Member parliamentary delegation of Pakistan’s federal parliament, comprising MNA Bashir Mehmood Virk, MNA Shandana Gulzar Khan, MNA Uzma Riaz Jadoon, MNA Shaheen Saifullah Khan, Senator Sana Jamali and Senator Kesho Bai, besides Minister Dr Mirza and MNA Dr. Pasha, is in the Ugandan Capital to attend the 64th CPC.
Apart from the federal parliament, delegations from the four provincial assemblies are also here. Over 600 delegates, observers and parliamentary experts from 180 legislatures of 54 Commonwealth countries are participating in the Conference.