ISLAMABAD ( BMZ REPORT )

Some members of the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs in its meeting observed that the delay in compiling additional information on evidences against Kulbhushan Yadav is weakening Pakistan’s case internationally. Some members of the committee termed it a lack of political will at part of the government to delay submission of solid dossiers despite passage of nine months since his arrest in March.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Nuzhat Sadiq here at the Parliament House on Wednesday. The matter of KulbhushanYadav was raised in the meeting by Senator Farhatullah Babar  and the Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs  Sartaj Aziz told the meeting that we are in final stages of compiling the additional information and the perceptions about lack of evidence against him are baseless. He also said that Pakistan’s stance will not be weakened as his confessions are in record.

While briefing the committee on evolving situation at borders with India, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry told the meeting that a new  life was seen in the freedom movement in Indian Held Kashmir  (IHK) in July and the violations gained momentum as result of this movement. The violations are alleged by India as a result of infiltrations from Pakistan side but in reality these are conducted just to distract attention from the atrocities committed by India in IHK. The civilian causalities as result of these violations are 45 while 138 people are injured. He told the committee that at bilateral level as well as as a member of international community India has been told about the need for peace and respect for ceasefire agreements. UN, OIC and member countries of Security Council have also been communicated.

Members of the committee raised a number of questions relating to different aspects of the tensions between Pakistan and India and about the foreign policy in general. Senator MuzaffarHussain Shah observed whether it would be expedient to raise this issue in the Security Council and what measure Pakistan can take to pressurize India to allow observers of UN and OIC to visit IHK. Senator ShibliFaraz questioned the existing foreign policy and questioned the defensive approach of Foreign Office on all key developments. He also asked the Advisor about the reasons that Pakistan has been unable to sell Kashmir issue to the world and has failed to build a narrative strong enough to be taken up strongly by United Nations.

While responding to the questions, Foreign Secretary said that the Security Council has already been approached on the matter of violations on Line of Control and the letter has been circulated as official document within the members but the Council has its own methodology to put the matters on agenda for debate. He also said that India did not like when the observers pointed out the atrocities being committed in IHK and they stopped the observers from any further visits. He said that for the sake of reciprocity, Pakistan was asked to allow similar visits which was agreed upon but India still hasn’t given permission for observer visits. It proves that their conscious is not clear, he said.

While responding to the question that whether it was appropriate for Pakistan to send the adviser to India, secretary said that the Foreign Office stands by its decision to attend the heart of Asia summit at Adviser level and Pakistan being the outgoing chair of the summit had to show that it is serious towards resolution of the problems in Afghanistan.  He said that hostile rhetoric from Afghanistan is not serving the purpose and the calm approach is not a defensive but conscious policy decision.

The meeting was also briefed about the EU Joint Commission meeting and visit of British Foreign Secretary in Pakistan in November this year. Sartaj Aziz told the meeting that both Pakistan and EU have shown satisfaction at the progress on 5 year strategic plan and have agreed on finalizing the new plan early next year. Senators termed the concerns of EU delegation on minorities protection and human rights fulfillment in Pakistan a key factor in trade policy. The adviser told the meeting that Boris Johnson assured Pakistan that BREXIT will not affect Pak-UK relations except to make it more stronger.

The meeting was also briefed about the progress made on four matters of overseas Pakistanis including Amir Mateen; a missing Pakistani in Dubai, Pakistani victims working for different companies  in Saudi Arabia, Pakistani labourers jailed in Oman and minor fishermen arrested by India.

The meeting was attended among others by Senators MuzaffarHussain Shah,  ShibliFaraz, SassuiPalijo, Farhatullah Babar, Karim Ahmed Khawaja, TahirHussainMashhadi, Daud Khan Achakzai, Adviser Sartaj Aziz, Foreign Secretary AizazChaudhry, DG Middle East and DG Europe.

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