In a passionate speech, PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto strongly condemned India’s decision to aboslish Article 370, which granted special status to Indian-administered Kashmir.
Modi is playing with fire, said Bilawal during his speech at the joint session of parliament on Tuesday.
Bilawal started his speech with a note of thanks to President Arif Alvi for summoning the joint parliament session to discuss the situation in Kashmir.
He, however, then went on to express his reservation over the delay in the session. “We may render this House dysfunctional, Mr Speaker. As we all saw this morning, we were supposed to meet at 11:30am, but we didn’t start till 4:30pm,” he said.
“So far, we have been unable to pass any legislation,” he lamented.
Commenting on the arguments between other lawmakers, Bilawal said all we hear are personal attacks, slurs and insults.
He welcomed and appreciated the decision to call the joint session of parliament, saying “we all feel it is necessary to speak in one voice for the people of Kashmir”.
The young PPP leader, addressing the speaker, recounted the events of the last few days. “We have seen cluster bombs being used [by India] in the last few days in violation of international laws on innocent civilians. We saw how tourists were expelled from Kashmir. We saw the closure of all educational institutions and the massive deployment of troops throughout Kashmir. All communication, all mobile phones and internet has been shut. The arrests of any and all prominent leaders of Kashmir, including former chief ministers and those who have served as allies of the BJP government. And finally, a brutal, historical attack. An attack not only on Kashmir, but an attack on the United Nations. An attack on international law, norms and precedents. An attack on democracy, rule of law and the inalienable right to self-determination,” he said, reading out his speech.
He termed India’s decision an attack not only on the Muslims of Kashmir, but also one on India itself and the idea of a secular, democratic India where all citizens have the opportunity of being treated equally.
“It is indeed an attack on the India of Nehru and Gandhi, but also an attack on the India of Vajpai,” he said, adding that the revocation opens the doors for Kashmiris to be turned into a minority in their own homes.
“If Kashmir was a flashpoint before, if Kashmir was a human rights disaster before, if peace in the region was held hostage to Kashmir before, with one stroke of a pen, Mr speaker, India has now opened up a pandoras box that has the potential to engulf the entire region in flames,” Bilawal said.
It opens the door to a potential nuclear catastrophe, he said.
“We will not accept it. The people of Kashmir will not accept it. The people of India should not accept it and the world should not accept it,” Bilawal said amid applause.