Lawmakers in parliament joint session denounce India’s ‘war crimes’ in Kashmir

Members of the National Assembly and Senate on Wednesday addressed the second day of a joint session of the parliament held to discuss Pakistan's future course of action in the wake of India's decision to revoke Article 370 of its constitution, stripping occupied Kashmir of its special status.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi is expected to present a policy statement later in the day following a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC), set to take place from 3pm to 6pm.

A resolution regarding the matter is also expected to be presented.

Both National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani took turns presiding over the joint session.

War crimes done by a rogue government: Mazari

Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said that India's actions in occupied Kashmir were tantamount to "war crimes done by a rogue government".

At the start of her address, Mazari said that in light of India's actions, the Pakistani people can call the Indian government a "rogue government".

"India has committed a war crime," she said, adding: "We are obligated to tell the whole world that India has committed an internationally recognised war crime."

She added that the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, which recognises Kashmir as a disputed territory, had been violated.

Furthermore, Mazari said that the Simla agreement, which states that India cannot unilaterally change the status of Kashmir, had been violated.

"The violence India is carrying out is clearly ethnic cleansing and genocide," she said, adding that the international community should be asked where the UN's right to intervene had gone. She noted that the international body had accepted the right to intervene if there was a fear of a genocide taking place anywhere in the world.

Mazari noted that even the Indian Supreme Court had in 2016 ruled that the status of Kashmir could not be changed.

"Whichever way you look at it, India's actions are war crimes committed by a rogue government."

Additionally, the minister said that the use of cluster bombs along the Line of Control (LoC) by India was also in violation of a convention regarding the use of inhumane weapons that India and Pakistan were parties to.

"We should draw the international community's attention to this," she said, adding that there was already a strong opinion in the international community regarding the matter.

"Pakistan is demanding that the UN Human Rights Council immediately form an independent investigation committee that will check the human rights violations conducted by Indian occupying forces in occupied Kashmir."

Mazari said that Pakistan had written to the president of the UN Security Council and UN Secretary General António Guterres. She said that the next step would be looking at the option of an emergency meeting of the UNSC, adding that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) should also be used as an option.

"How will Muslim countries stay silent in the face of the violence taking place against Muslims?" she asked.

Read: Govt resolves to take up 'annexation' of Kashmir on international forums, fight BJP's 'racist ideology'

She said that Prime Minister Imran Khan's message presented in the joint session on Tuesday had made it clear that Pakistan would not remain silent.

Modi conquered Kashmir from Kashmiris: Rabbani

PPP Senator Raza Rabbani said that a strip would be created along the Line of Control (LoC) and that would become the new Gaza strip of the subcontinent.

"If you look at it in the overall context, this is a nexus of Washington, Tel Aviv and New Delhi and, we are unable to understand this nexus.

"Have we forgotten that when Trump mediated he gave Golan Heights to Israel?"

He said that by creating the strip along the LoC, refugees would come into Pakistan through which the country would be kept under the threat of war.

"Modi conquered Kashmir from the Kashmiris for the Hindus."

"If India continues with its policy, it will be following a policy of state terrorism. [...] as a result of this state terrorism, there is going to be a genocide in Kashmir."

Modi's thought process will lead to India's disintegration: Zardari

Former president Asif Ali Zardari addressing the joint session. — DawnNewsTV

While addressing the joint session, former president and co-chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Asif Ali Zardari said that in his opinion, the Kashmir incident was as serious as the "East Pakistan tragedy".

He said that it was important to look at history to understand this, adding that PPP had been formed for the cause and sacrifices of Kashmir.

"Do you think India doesn't know that a tailor-made democracy is in place in Pakistan? Do they not know about the economic situation here?

"They know everything."

While referring to Prime Minister Imran's address at the joint session yesterday, Zardari said: "Our 'select' said that they [the Indian government] have a fundamentalist mindset. We all know that."

Zardari said that he didn't want to oppose the premier too much as everyone had to stand with the people of Kashmir.

The former president said that if this had happened on his watch, his first flight would have been to Abu Dhabi followed by a flight to China, Russia and Iran, where he would ask the leaders to show solidarity with Pakistan.

"I am hopeful that Modi's thought process will itself lead to the disintegration of India as he has buried the secular India that Nehru and Gandhi had envisioned."

Tell us what will happen in the future: Asif

PML-N leader Khawaja Asif addresses the joint session on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV
PML-N leader Khawaja Asif addresses the joint session on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV

PML-N leader Khawaja Asif said that everything that was said yesterday during the first day of the joint session was in "total contradiction" with what Imran had said over the past year.

"It is not enough to read history, you should learn a lesson from history."

"Don't tell us about the past, we know it. Tell us what is to happen in the future."

Asif said that over the past year, there had been no response from India to Pakistan's efforts.

"We gave them a lot of sweetener, yet no response came from them."

The PML-N leader added that Prime Minister Imran had said that if Prime Minister Narendra Modi was re-elected a solution to Kashmir was possible.

Read: PM Khan sees better chance of peace talks with India if Modi's BJP wins election

"Even four months ago, he had hopes from Modi."

Pakistan was not ready for India's action: Raja Zafar

While addressing the session, PML-N's Raja Zafar said that this was a serious matter that should be paid attention to.

Haq said it appeared that India had prepared to take the action regarding occupied Kashmir, adding that it had also been included in the election manifesto for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

But, he said that it looked like Pakistan was not ready for India's decision to revoke Article 370.

While referring to Prime Minister Imran's statement during Tuesday's proceedings of the joint session, Haq said that when certain politicians suggested that the matter be taken seriously, the response they received was "Should I attack India?"

During yesterday's sitting, Prime Minister Imran, in response to Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif's speech, had asked the parliament to advise the government on what to do next.

"What measures have I not taken? Our Foreign Office has held meetings with ambassadors, I have reached out to other countries [and] we are approaching international forums. What does he [Sharif] suggest I should do, launch an attack on India?"

Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq addresses the joint session on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV
Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq addresses the joint session on Wednesday. — DawnNewsTV

Meanwhile, Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq suggested that the government call an international conference in Islamabad. He added that a group of over 120 members including opposition leaders in Pakistan should be formed and sent around the world with regards to the matter.

"Don't just look at how America or the West will look at your decision, do everything Kashmiris are demanding of you right now," he said.

 

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