The National Assembly’s session began on Wednesday with the opposition members’ criticism of the government’s “failure” to highlight the Kashmir crisis, with both PPP and PML-N advising the government to declare a “diplomatic emergency”.
Pakistan Muslim League-N leader Ahsan Iqbal criticised Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s tepid response to the Kashmir crisis and said that if the body does not agree to call a session on the issue, Pakistan should “immediately announce its exit”.
“We don’t need a dead forum that cannot even call a session on [occupied] Kashmir,” he declared. He appealed the foreign minister to visit at least 10 to 15 countries over the next 15 days and inform foreign governments about the situation in occupied Kashmir “so that the world can know that this is a panic situation”.
“Thirdly, envoys should be sent [to important capitals] immediately, send parliamentary delegations is you must, but rouse the world. If you don’t shake the world awake and tell them that this is a calamity, who will raise this issue?”
In response, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi urged the opposition not to “minimise” Pakistan’s efforts to highlight the Kashmir issue around the world.
“When Pakistan’s efforts are minimised, you are being minimised and Pakistan’s stance is being weakened. Please, do not minimise what Pakistan has done. Yes, contribute and add to what we have done and if you have positive suggestions, God willing, we will incorporate them into our thinking.
“On this issue and on issues of national interest, we are open to input […] the input and the voice of this House does not weaken our hands but strengthen them,” the foreign minister said.
PPP leader and former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf regretted that the government had failed to even force India to lift the curfew in occupied Kashmir. Munir Orakzai from Fata challenged Qureshi’s claim that the PTI government had taken a lead among all the previous governments on highlighting and internationalising Kashmir. He said India had never dared to take such a drastic step of annexing Kashmir in the past.
He pointed out that Qureshi was the foreign minister in the previous governments too, as had been most of those in the current cabinet.
“The few new ministers that are here only abuse the opponents,” he said.
He called the government’s attention to the erstwhile Fata region. “Fata people are in trouble. Their old system has been abolished but no new system has been introduced. They have not been given the amount which was promised for the development of Fata.” PPP’s Hina Rabbani Khar said the government should “at least try to convene a meeting of the OIC foreign ministers”.