Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has invited the Opposition for talks to chalk out a comprehensive action plan aimed at resolution of the lingering Kashmir dispute after the Senate saw the two sides engaging in a blame game over the issue.
“Let us join hands on this issue. This is a continuous battle and we will have to fight it collectively,” Qureshi said on Tuesday after criticising the lawmakers from three mainstream opposition parties – the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) – with a forceful retort to their remarks and accusations over the government’s handling of the Kashmir issue, the Dawn reported on Wednesday.
The foreign minister was winding up a discussion on Kashmir in the house to mark the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination day.
On January 5, 1949, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) had passed a resolution supporting the Kashmiris’ right to decide their future by themselves through a UN-sponsored plebiscite.
PPP parliamentary leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman, while initiating the debate, noted that the Kashmir issue would have been in a different global dimension had Zulfikar Ali Bhutto been alive.
Rana Maqbool of the PML-N accused the PTI-led government of putting the Kashmir issue on the backburner. Maulana Abdul Ghafoor Haidri of the JUI-F alleged that Narendra Modi and Imran Khan had been brought into power under a plan for held Kashmir’s complete occupation by New Delhi.
In his speech, Foreign Minister Qureshi criticised the opposition for using the Kashmir issue for political point-scoring and having the cheek to ask what the present government had done on the dispute.
He said working for the Kashmir cause was an obligation of the Imran Khan-led government and it would do its best with honesty and sincerity.
He agreed with Rehman’s statement about Z.A. Bhutto, but regretted that his successors in the PPP turned their eyes away from Kashmir. The remarks prompted Sherry Rehman to stage a walkout from the house.
“Sorry to see the govt playing politics even on Kashmir in Senate. This is the first time any sitting government has stirred poison into what we see as a non-divisive non-partisan issue,” she tweeted shortly after the walkout.
In her absence, the foreign minister continued firing salvos, saying he had invited Sherry Rehman, Naveed Qamar and Mushahid Hussain Sayed for a briefing on Kashmir. “I wish they had shown greatness, rising above political expediencies,” he added.