ISLAMABAD: The Senate Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday, under the chairmanship of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, with all the members in attendance, unanimously passed a resolution rejecting the US statement on CPEC as “unacceptable interference in Pakistan’s sovereign right to exercise policy choices that best protect and promote its national interests”.
The Committee received an hour long in-camera briefing by the Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi regarding the situation inside Indian Occupied Kashmir, the Kartarpur Corridor, and Pakistan’s role in mediation between Iran and Saudi Arabia, as well as formulation of a comprehensive and long term Kashmir strategy.
The resolution on CPEC termed the statement of Alice Wells as “uncalled for, unwarranted and unprecedented” and termed the US statement as “promoting fiction and presenting a biased perspective on CPEC”.
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The Senate Foreign Affairs Committee strongly urged the government of Pakistan to make it clear in “unequivocal terms that Pakistan will not tolerate any dictation from any country that seeks to undermine the time-tested Pakistan-China relations.”
During the briefing, the Foreign Minister made it clear that he would soon convene a meeting of Apex Kashmir Committee so that a comprehensive and sustainable Kashmir strategy can be formulated, in consultation with Parliament as well as the opposition.
Senator Mushahid Hussain made it clear that on the issue of Kashmir, the whole nation speaks with one voice and it was at the initiative of Senate Foreign Affairs Committee last year that an international Kashmir conference was convened in the British Parliament in February 2019 where the Foreign Minister as well as the entire parliamentary committee participated and spoke with one voice and on one platform on Kashmir.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the government is planning to send delegation abroad which will include representatives of the parliamentary opposition and Foreign Office is also planning to hold an international conference on Kashmir at various locations within Pakistan and abroad. Both these initiatives were welcomed by the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.
In other business, the Senate Committee also took note on the public petition complaining against Pakistan’s Consul General, Barcelona, Spain and it took strong exception to the contents and language used by the Pakistani Consul General based in Barcelona terming it an unacceptable “character assassination” and language not befitting a diplomat of Pakistan against fellow Pakistanis.
The Committee ordered Foreign Office to make inquiry into the matter and asked the Foreign Office to present a compliance report by December 15, 2019.
The Committee also took note of other matters particularly the issues of Pakistani prisoners in foreign countries and instructed the Foreign Office to provide early redressal to the grievances of these Pakistani prisoners languishing in jails abroad.
The meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed at the Parliament House and attended by Senators Muhammad Javed Abbasi, Dr. Asif Kirmani, Nuzhat Sadiq, Seemee Ezdi, Attaur Rehman, Abdul Rehman Malik, Sherry Rehman, Anwaarul Haq Kakar, Mian Muhammad Atteq Shaikh, Sirajul Haq, Sitara Ayaz, Dr. Shahzad Waseem, Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Special Secretary Moazam Ali Khan along with senior officers from Foreign Office, Hafeezullah Sheikh Additional Secretary Senate and others.
(This news/article originally appeared in The News on November 27th, 2019)