Opp dissatisfied with Kasuris briefing on Kashmir policy
24 May 2007
The Daily Times
Islamabad: The opposition parliamentarians on Thursday expressed their dissatisfaction with the briefing by Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri on composite dialogue between Pakistan and India. Kasuri briefed the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir headed by Hamid Nasir Chattha, which met here at the Parliament House. We are absolutely dissatisfied with the briefing given by the Foreign Minister. There was nothing new in it except disappointment, commented Senator Ishaq Dar of the PML-N and Makhdoom Amin Fahim of the PPP-P after the meeting. They regretted that the government was not taking the Parliament into confidence on the Kashmir policy. Some of the members of the committee, especially belonging to the Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD), were of the view that Kasuri might not be in the picture and demanded the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), the real architect of the countrys Kashmir policy, brief the committee, sources privy to the meeting told Daily Times. Fahim said that human rights violations were continuing in the Held Kashmir and there was no visible progress on the issue contrary to the government claims of progress and easing of tension between the two countries. Dar said that the ARD members had demanded comprehensive briefing on foreign policy, with special focus on Kashmir during the last seven years. We want to know the changes in the Kashmir policy and governments limitations in this regard, he added. Dar said that Kashmir was a core issue between the two countries, which resulted in three wars. We have lost half of our country besides spending billions of dollars on Kashmir policy and the parliament should be in picture whats going on between the two countries, he added. Sherry Rehman, central information secretary of the PPP, complained that Kasuri gave formal replies to members questions expressing his inability to say something in totality. I asked him the details of four-point proposal and he replied we are six-seven members involved in it but I cant share more details, she said. However, the press release issued by the NA Secretariat said that Kasuri informed the committee that ongoing dialogue between India and Pakistan was the most focused discussion on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir held so far and there had been a progress leading to some relief to the Kashmiris and defusing tension between the two countries. The Parliament would certainly be taken into confidence before a decision is taken. We will not bypass the Parliament but would only take it into confidence when we reach a certain stage of agreement. Even Indian government has not taken the issue to its Parliament so far despite pressure from the opposition, Kasuri said talking to reporters after the meeting. The release further stated that Pakistan wanted a negotiated settlement of the issue and would not agree to any solution unacceptable to the Kashmiri people. Both the countries are narrowing their differences on demilitarization, self-governance and joint management to move towards the real objective, it added quoting Kasuri. Kasuri said that both the countries were engaged in resolving the 60 years old and complicated issues which would take some time. Meanwhile, Senator Rukhsana Zubairi of the PPP-P questioned why Pakistan was not signing the UN convention on missing persons when the issue has assumed significance in the perspectives of the chief justices petition against the presidential reference. She also handed over a written copy of the question to the minister to bring the matter on record.