March 2007 News

Pakistan to lobby with European Parliament on Kashmir report

26 March 2007
Indo-Asian News Service

Islamabad: Pakistan's high commissioner to Britain Maliha Lodhi and Europe- based Kashmiri groups will pressure European parliamentarians to include holding of plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir in the Kashmir resolution that is slated to come up for voting in May. The 28 amendments made to the controversial Kashmir report by Baroness Emma Nicholson have failed to meet Pakistan's 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, The Daily Times said Monday.Pakistan is unhappy, not only because the report angers the numerous Kashmiri groups that it has been sustaining over the years, but also because it contrasts democracy prevailing in India with the absence of it in Gilgit, Baltistan and other areas in Kashmir under Pakistani control.Last week, the European Parliament's 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.However, Nicholson is happy about the report entitled 'Kashmir: Present Situation and Future Prospects' that she has painstakingly made. 'I am very pleased indeed that we succeeded in having the vote,' Nicholson said after the vote.She stressed 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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