Pakistani government scuppers move to seek US envoy for KashmirFebruary 1st, 2009 - 2:05 pm ICT by IANS
Islamabad, Feb 1 (IANS) In what could be a significant pointer to the future of sub-continental ties, the Pakistani government has blocked a parliamentary resolution seeking a special US envoy for Kashmir.What has been proposed instead is a watered down version hoping that the world community would play a role in resolving the dispute that has bedevilled India-Pakistan relations for over six decades.
“The Foreign Office and a federal minister have scuttled a move for adoption of a resolution in the National Assembly asking US President Barack Obama to appoint an envoy on Kashmir or include the settlement of the dispute in the mandate of the US envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Dawn reported Sunday.
“A top official of the Foreign Office blocked the move by setting aside a joint resolution approved by members from both the sides of the aisle, and came out with another version, excluding the call for sending a US envoy on Kashmir,” the newspaper added.
The original resolution, by Marvi Memon of the erstwhile ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), was supported not only by her party’s leadership, but also by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) that leads the ruling coalition and its allies like the Awami National Party (ANP) and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazlur (JUI-F).
Significantly, one-time PPP ally Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif also backed the resolution, showing it had support across the political spectrum.
The notice for the original resolution read: “This house resolves to ask President Obama to send a US envoy on Kashmir or to include Kashmir’s resolution in the mandate of the US envoy on Afghanistan and Pakistan.”
However, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), which has just joined the government, moved a different version that read: “This house underscores the importance of the peaceful and just resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. And in this context expresses the confidence that the new US administration will, as stated by President Obama, give priority attention to this issue. (And enable) the US special representative for the region to play an important role for the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir issue included in his mandate.”
According to Memon, once Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani took off for Davos, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Babar Awan proposed consultation with the Foreign Office before moving the resolution.
“A top bureaucrat of the Foreign Office tried to block the resolution on technical grounds by proposing a watered down version instead,” Dawn said.
The diluted version said: “This house underscores the importance of peaceful and just resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute. We expect the international community to play its due role in the early resolution of this longstanding dispute. And in this context expresses confidence that the new US administration will, as stated by President Obama, give priority to this issue.”
The newspaper also quoted Memon as saying she had been informed that no other resolution was acceptable to the government.
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