ISLAMABAD    -   Senate Standing Committee on Defence on Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution demanding from the Indian prime minister to lift curfew in Indian Occupied Kashmir without further loss of time as innocent women and children were dying there in the absence of medicines and food.

The Committee, through the resolution, appealed to the entire international community to condemn the gross human rights violations committed by the Modi government in Indian Occupied Kashmir. The resolution also demanded that India should move towards a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the UNSC resolutions. The resolution was proposed by Senator Abdul Rehman Malik and passed by the committee with some amendments.

The meeting was presided over by Senator Walid Iqbal at the Parliament House which was attended among others by Senators Talha Mehmood, Javed Abbasi, Mushahid Hussain, Lt. Gen. (Retd) Abdul Qayyum, Anwarul Haq Kakar, Abdul Rehman Malik, Mir Kabeer Shahi, Usman Khan Kakar, secretary Defence, additional secretary foreign affairs and officials from the ministry of defence.

Some committee members objected and expressed displeasure over the absence of the defence minister in view of the complexity of the situation and important items relating to LOC violations and the aftermath of alteration in the special status of Jammu and Kashmir being on agenda. The committee chairman undertook to convey the sentiments of the aforesaid committee members to the minister and also stated that he would ensure the minister’s presence in the next meeting so that the matters related to defence especially Indian defence minister’s recent statement regarding ‘No First Use of nuclear weapons’ could be discussed.

The committee chairman talked at length about the highhandedness of the Modi government causing a humanitarian crisis by complete communications black out, blockade of provision of basic amenities, and unending curfew. Senator Rehman Malik remarked that Narendra Modi was the first head of government in the world who held a basic membership of a terrorist organisation. He called upon working with Kashmiri organisations and urged them to lodge a case against Modi as a war criminal.

Zahoor Ahmed, additional secretary Foreign Office told the committee that Pakistan’s issue was not with the change in IOK’s status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution but with India’s intentions. He said that according to the Simla Agreement, India cannot do a material change unilaterally and this may lead to a demographical change in Jammu and Kashmir. “The humanitarian angle is also a significant part of the crisis ongoing for 38 days now. Complete lockdown and communication outage is causing severe problems and the situation might do more damage once the curfew is lifted and Kashmiris come out to protest,” he feared, briefing the committee about foreign minister’s visit to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. He said that usually this stage of the Council’s proceedings was not attended by foreign ministers but he decided to go and register Pakistan’s version. A Joint Statement, signed by 50 members of the UN, expressing concern over human right violations being committed in IOK was also issued in Geneva. Members of the committee asked for a copy of the joint statement to be shared with the committee members.

The committee was told that on sidelines of UN General Assembly speech, the prime minister will hold meetings with 7- 8 Heads of State. Senator Rehman Malik suggested that the prime minister should make demand for implementation of UN Resolutions a part of his speech. The committee members stressed upon fully activating the Kashmir Cell at the Foreign Office and making use of media narrative in this battle of ideas, appreciating those brotherly countries which have come out to support Pakistan’s view point on the Kashmir crisis.

The committee was told that Modi had miscalculated the reaction of Kashmiris, Pakistan, as well as the international community before committing this blunder. Senator Mushahid Hussain observed that Pakistan should formally condemn Netanyahu’s statement on replicating the Modi model in Palestine. Matters involving firing across the LOC, the civilian casualties, the border tension with Afghanistan and a point of public importance raised by Senator Usman Kakar were discussed in-camera.