ISLAMABAD, Oct 7: The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) played the role of a vibrant opposition party today when it asked the government some tough question about its handling of the Kashmir issue.
On the third day of the joint session of Parliament today when a resolution was passed on Kashmir, PPP lawmakers systematically criticised what they said was the government’s inability to make a strong case for Pakistan on the international stage.
“The day Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says the name of Kulbushan Jadhav, I will donate Rs50,000 to the blind association,” said Senator Aitzaz Ahsan. He was referring to PM Nawaz’s UNGA speech, where he failed to mention the Indian spy caught by military officials months earlier.
PPP Senator Sherry Rehman slammed Pakistan’s foreign policy, asking “Why are we not able to mount a serious, sustained, protracted defence of the federation of Pakistan?”
“Kashmir is one of the most important issues for us regarding our foreign policy… You cannot build your foreign policy through one speech,” Rehman said, referring to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s UNGA speech.
Rehman echoed Aitzaz’s address to the joint session a day earlier, during which the premier failed to mention the Indian spy caught by military officials months earlier.
Aitzaz Ahsan also had something to say about Jadhav during today’s session: “The day Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says the name of Kulbushan Jadhav, I will donate Rs50,000 to the blind association.”
The Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval said if there was another terrorist attack in India, Pakistan would lose Balochistan, Rehman said. “Who is the NSA of India to say this?” she questioned. “How dare any Indian speak about the federation of Pakistan?”
“One-seventh of India is constantly under insurgency. That is their internal matter. Why did you not bring this matter up?” the PPP lawmaker said, addressing the prime minister who was not present at today’s session.
India has made us appear responsible for terrorism before the whole world, the lawmaker lamented. “The US is already their ally. They have already started making bases there. Afghanistan is already blaming us,” she continued. “You have no interests in common with the super powers,” she said.
“Who is defending Pakistan? Our parliament is doing it. Our Army is fighting the largest inland war against terrorism in the world today and nobody knows about it,” she said. “This is a failure of your diplomacy,” she added to applause from the PPP benches.
“The military should always be the last line of defence. The first line is the foreign ministry, the foreign minister and its ambassadors.
“The military’s job is to be standing there in the trenches. Do not make them do your job for you,” she warned the government, “Because that’s what they are being forced to do.”
“They have to give speeches, they have to take positions, they have to take journalists to the Line of Control for briefings. What have you done?” she asked the government.
“You held a traditional ‘All Parties Conference’. You didn’t even do a DGMO briefing. What are you afraid of? What will happen? Where is a vacuum, someone always fills it,” she warned.
Rehman also touched upon Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to suspend Indus Waters Commission talks after the Uri attack.
“On the Indus Waters Treaty, India touched that which hadn’t been touched in three wars. And this treaty is not a fair or just treaty with Pakistan. India has built dam upon dam.
“India has weaponised water. What answer did you give?” she asked.
Senator Rehman Malik also addressed the session, terming Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “chief terrorist”, held India responsible for “exporting terrorism to Pakistan”.
Rehman Malik urged lawmakers not to isolate the Kashmir issue from CPEC. “What is happening right now is because of CPEC ─ certain world powers don’t want it to be successful,” he claimed.
Resolution on Kashmir
Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz presented a resolution on Kashmir in the assembly which was unanimously endorsed by lawmakers in attendance.
The resolution highlighted Indian atrocities in Kashmir, calling for implementation of UNSC resolutions, rejected Indian accusations of Pakistani involvement in the Uri attack and condemned Indian sponsorship of subversive activity in Pakistan. It also took notice of India’s efforts to isolate Pakistan diplomatically.
Senator Taj Haider addressing parliament earlier had said, “We should not move back even one millimetre from our point of view.”
He added, “We have to voice very clearly that plebiscite in Kashmir is the only solution. We have to find a method to hold free and fair plebiscite without any pressure on Kashmir.”
The senator raised concerns of smaller provinces over the CPEC, echoing the stance PPP Senator Aitzaz Ahsan took during yesterday’s joint session.
Fata MNA Dr G.G. Jamal pointed out that a large number of the armed forces were deployed to the western border for Operation Zarb-i-Azb.
“The world should know that India, indirectly, does not want Zarb-i-Azb to finish. Indirectly, they don’t want terrorism to end, they are helping it,” he claimed.
Jamal said that India is diverting the world’s attention towards war so that state terrorism in Kashmir is forgotten.
Senator Kamil Ali Agha, during the session said: “We have to see that the UN resolutions are in place, the Kashmiris are sacrificing so where are we lacking? Why is the world not paying attention?”
Agha also raised questions about CPEC. “Why has Gilgit-Baltistan been left out of CPEC?” and asserted that GB carries the potential to generate electricity.
“The corridor cannot be completed without investment in Gilgit-Baltistan,” he maintained.
During yesterday’s session, PPP and PML-N lawmakers clashed over Panamagate and allegations of corruption in the house just days after political leaders announced they were united on the Kashmir issue following an ‘All Parties Conference’.
The upper and lower houses together also unanimously approved the anti-honour killing and anti-rape bills during Thursday’s session.