The Senate on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution urging India to reverse the actions it initiated on and after August 5, 2019, which were aimed at illegally altering the demography of the Muslim majority state of Kashmir.
As a symbolic gesture, part of Friday’s special session, held on the eve of Kashmir Solidarity Day, was presided over by the first Hindu Dalit woman to be elected to the Senate.
“There can’t be a bigger slap on Modi’s face than this,” said Senator Krishna Kumari Kohli, who is also known as Kesho Bai.
The senator from Tharparkar was invited by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani to chair the session during the course of speeches on Kashmir.
She was warmly welcomed with desk-thumping by Senate colleagues as she assumed the chair. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Dr Babar Awan, who was speaking at the time, paused to acknowledge Senator Kohli as she assumed the presiding seat.
In her brief remarks, Senator Kohli said she wanted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to know that “this is the real face of Pakistan, which has allowed a Hindu member to preside over the Senate session.”
“We want Modi to know that he has had his way for long enough, we will not tolerate him for much longer,” she said.
Senator Kohli, who was elected in 2018 to a reserved seat on a Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) ticket, later tweeted: “It is great honour [that] I chaired the Senate session called to discuss the current situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) on the eve of Kashmir Solidarity Day.”
RESOLUTION: The house unanimously adopted a resolution rejecting the “illegal and unilateral action” taken by India on August 5, 2019, and demanded that it revoke the step, calling it a “gross violation of all United Nations resolutions on Jammu and Kashmir”.
The resolution also condemned the unabated Indian human rights violations, war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law in IIOJK. “Ever since Aug 5, hundreds of innocent Kashmiris have been martyred, arbitrarily arrested or rounded up under trumped-up charges,” the resolution stated.
The Senate made it clear to India that even the worst state-sponsored terrorism would not break the spirit of the Kashmiri people or crush their legitimate struggle.
The house demanded that Indian PM Narendra Modi and his “fascist RSS organisation” be held accountable for their crimes against humanity and called on the Indian government to stop extra-judicial killings of Kashmiris in fake encounters and cordon-and-search operations.
It also denounced illegal measures to change the demographic structure of the occupied territory, as well as “efforts to peddle a facade of normalcy” and demanded the immediate release of all political prisoners in IIOJK.
The Senate also asked the international community to take note of “India’s belligerence, intransigence and brazen persistence of cruelty against the Kashmiri people, including the danger of genocide which is now documented internationally”.
The resolution reassured the people of Kashmir that Pakistan’s government, people and parliament would always stand firm with them in their just struggle until it is resolved according to their wishes and as per the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
“The Senate of Pakistan reiterates its support to the people of Kashmir in the just struggle for their inalienable right to self-determination every step of the way,” the resolution said.
Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani ordered that copies of the signed resolution be dispatched to world leaders and the UN secretary general.
THE DEBATE: Earlier, opening the discussion on Kashmir, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Yousuf Raza Gilani said that durable peace in South Asia was not possible without the settlement of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the aspirations of the Kashmiri people.
Leader of the House Dr Shahzad Waseem and Advisor on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan also condemned Indian atrocities in the valley in the strongest terms and called for the reversal of the “illegal and immoral steps” of Aug 5 and beyond, saying that their right to self-determination could not be denied any longer.
Dr Shahzad Waseem said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had effectively exposed Janus-faced India before the world and the international community had also taken note. He recalled that the UN secretary general and General Assembly president had also talked about the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.
Calling for serious and meaningful dialogue between India and Pakistan on the issue, he warned that otherwise, the two countries would continue to remain under pressure from global powers, which would continue to use them for their own interests.
PML-N parliamentary leader Azam Nazir Tarar said that Kashmir could not be liberated through slogans alone and insisted there was still time for the government to convene a meeting of all political parties to take the Kashmir cause forward with vision and strength.
Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) Senator Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haideri criticised the PTI government for adopting a weak policy on Kashmir and alleged that the “PTI government made a deal on Kashmir and sold out its people”.
In response, PTI Senator Ejaz Chaudhry came down hard on the JUI-F lawmaker for making “baseless accusations”, instead positing that even though Maulana Fazlur Rehman had been the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir, its performance remained abysmal.
Former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani regretted that the global community was silent on the Indian atrocities on the people of occupied Kashmir, where rape was being used as a weapon of war.
Saying that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) response was not enough, he said that given US efforts to make India the region’s policeman to contain China, New Delhi could be at full liberty to resort to whatever it wanted.
He also noted an increase in incidents of terrorism inside Pakistan, which he believed was part of that policy.
Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed quoted the testimony of Genocide Watch head Dr Gregory Stanton, given before the US Congress last month, saying: “In India, there are the makings of genocide, starting with Kashmir and Assam against the Muslims.”
Senator Mushahid urged the government to take note and called on the civilian and military establishment to frame a clear policy on India.