March 2007 News

EU Kashmir report amendments leave Pakistan disappointed

25 March 2007
The Daily Times
Khalid Hasan

Washington: The 28 amendments made to the controversial Kashmir report by European Parliaments Baroness Emma Nicholson have failed to meet Pakistans expectations, especially on the plebiscite issue. The report is to be put to vote in May when Pakistan hopes it can generate enough support to get the desired results. Pakistans lobbying efforts have been coordinated with help from Kashmiri groups by its UK High Commissioner Dr Maleeha Lodhi. Last week, the European Parliaments Foreign Affairs Committee adopted with minor changes the report incorporating the recommendation that conditions for a plebiscite had not been met and there could be no plebiscite in Kashmir. Considered by many as a victory for India, the report with its 28 amendments was adopted with 60 voting in favour, one against and 11 abstentions. The report will now go before the plenary session of the European Parliament for approval in late May. I am very pleased indeed that we succeeded in having the vote, Baroness Emma Nicholson, author of the report Kashmir Present Situation and Future Prospects said after the vote, adding that the committee had placed its full support behind the India-Pakistan composite dialogue process, which is resulting in a range of confidence building measures or CBMs that have enabled, among others, divided families to meet for the first time in 60 years a process which I witnessed personally last summer. She said a total of 450 amendments were proposed, of which 200 were short-listed. The European Parliament has underscored the high value that it places on democracy and human rights for all people in the region, particularly for earthquake victims, forced migrants, refugees and others in need in Azad Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan and Indian- administered Kashmir, she said.


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