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Kashmir cells to be formed at Foreign Office, Pakistani embassies

August 17, 2019
 

 

Photo: Online

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special committee on Kashmir met on Saturday for the first time. 

The seven-member committee was formed on the prime minister’s directives on August 6. The meeting began at 11am at the Foreign Office.

The committee meeting was chaired by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. The other members are ISI head Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed, ISPR chief Major General Asif Ghafoor, Law Minister Farogh Nasim, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan, parliamentary committee on Kashmir chairperson Fakhar Imam and Attorney General of Pakistan Anwar Mansoor Khan.

The committee will discuss the situation in Indian-Administered Kashmir and Pakistan’s progress in raising the issue on international forums.

It was formed after India repealed Article 370 of its constitution, revoking the special status granted to Kashmir as an autonomous state. A curfew has been imposed in Kashmir ever since India revoked its status.

Pakistan has been raising the issue on various forums. It has written to the UN Security Council, OIC, UN Peacekeeping mission and other countries about the situation.

Following the meeting, Qureshi flanked by the ISPR DG, Awan and Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, said it was a long meeting during which deliberations were held and everyone gave their input.

The importance of this meeting in my eyes is that this committee has representation from all the institutions of the country, he said. Qureshi said there was national consensus on the Kashmir issue and on Pulwama when aggression was committed against Pakistan. It drew unanimous condemnation from the entire Parliament and a joint resolution was passed by Parliament, so considering all of this, we also gave the opposition representation in this meeting, he said.

They even participated, he said. I want to thank them for the message of unity that we gave in Muzaffarabad, during the prime minister’s meeting and the message that Parliament gave, today another message of unity was delivered, said the minister.

Discussing Saturday’s meeting, he said first they discussed Friday’s UNSC consultation. It was an important consultation as it has been five decades since the Kashmir issue was raised at the highest forum, the forum which is supposed to resolve it, he said. That forum recognised the importance of the 11 resolutions that have been passed on the Kashmir issue, the importance of the UN charter was mentioned and the UN secretary general’s statement on the issue was also mentioned, he said.

Qureshi called it a “very encouraging session” and called it a victory for Pakistan.

“During today’s meeting, we discussed how to go  forward,” he explained.  Like we said, it’s a long fight which we’ll have to fight on every front, he said. “And it’s a process, not an event.”

We took input from this committee today and the mandate that the PM has given to this committee to deliberate to form a plan of action, he said, adding that they discussed what Pakistan’s diplomatic strategy should be in the coming days.

They also discussed what Pakistan’s political and legal strategies should be and how best to highlight the human rights issues they foresee in the region.

Qureshi said that after a very long time, the international media has supported our narrative, so we must see what our strategy will be for future engagement.

One thing was very clear: the whole committee has a consensus on that the face of India that we are seeing, and these voices have started coming from India too, that the Modi government has buried Nehru’s India, said Qureshi. “And the face of India that the world is seeing today is not Nehru’s India. It is Narendra Modi’s India.”

We have concluded that the strategy India is following is the Duval Doctrine, and revolves around it, he said. There are many characters in it, but the three main characters are: PM Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Ajit Duval, the national security adviser, said Qureshi.

The foreign minister announced the creation of a Kashmir cell in the ministry of foreign affairs as well as at Pakistani embassies in major countries. A focal person will also be appointed who will shape public narrative on Kashmir, he said. 

He said Pakistan will respond to any aggression with full force. The Kashmir issue is not a bilateral issue, it’s a global issue and the world should not remain silent on this, he urged.

ISPR chief Major General Ghafoor said India tested us on February 27 and if it wants, it can test us again. “This time, the response will be even stronger,” he warned.

Yesterday, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh gave a statement, he said. “Sane countries do not talk about strategic capabilities. It’s a weapon of deterrence and political choice.” He said that issue had been raised by the prime minister before. Our state-level position is also that the Kashmir dispute is a nuclear flashpoint, he said.

We are two strategically capable countries, which don’t have the space for conventional war, said Major General Ghafoor. But the world needs to understand what will happen if India continues on the path it is following and something happens between India and Pakistan, he said.

So, sensible nations do not talk about this but he has, said the ISPR chief, referring to Singh. The world needs to understand what happens if they don’t intervene and don’t resolve the issue, he said, adding that it’s not an issue of territory. The biggest issue right now is of human rights, he said.

We are responsible country, we have a state stance, he said. We do not wish to talk about this but since they have talked about it, the world need to see what role it wants to play, he added.

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