Kashmir report now goes to European Parliament plenary
30 April 2007
Indo-Asian News Service
Brussels: A controversial Kashmir report that has raised the hackles of Pakistan is now going to be debated by a plenary session of European Parliament (EP) in the third week of May.The draft report 'Kashmir: Present Situation and Future Prospects', was adopted by EP's foreign affairs Committee on March 21 with 60 votes in favour, only one against and 11 abstentions.The report, which criticizes the democracy deficit in Pakistan and brushes aside Islamabad's persistent demand for plebiscite in Jammu and Kashmir, has drawn keen interest everywhere.Once voted by the EP's plenary session, it will be adopted as a European Union report on Kashmir, which will have international ramifications, reports INEP.Usually reports the foreign affairs committee has passed by a large majority do easily sail through the EP's plenary session.Pro-Pakistani British members of the European Parliament and the Pakistani-backed Kashmir Centre here are lobbying intensely to introduce new amendments to the report, authored by Emma Nicholson.They have also launched an intense campaign to have the report changed, accusing Nicholson of being pro-India.'India is the world's largest secular democracy and has devolved democratic structures at all levels, whereas Pakistan still lacks full implementation of democracy in AJK (Azad Jammu and Kashmir) and has yet to take steps towards democracy in Gilgit and Baltistan,' says the report.It regrets that Pakistan has consistently failed to fulfil its obligations to introduce meaningful and representative democratic structures in its part of Kashmir.