Parliamentary Special Committee on Kashmir Chairperson Shehryar Afridi ditched Kashmiris on his recent trip to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as he did not meet any Kashmiris living there and neither was the Kashmir issue mentioned in the press statement released by the Pakistan diplomatic mission in Dubai, it has emerged.
According to a report by The News, Afridi visited the Pakistan Consulate in Dubai on Sunday but Kashmiris were not invited. Pakistan Consul-General to Dubai Ahmed Amjad Ali briefed Afridi about the consular services provided to Pakistanis and the COVID-19 operations for repatriation of Pakistanis.
Kashmiri leaders, namely Sardar Shabbir, former adviser to the Azad Kashmir government Sardar Javed Yaqub, Azad Kashmir Assembly candidate Farooq Baniya among others, also raised the issue of Afridi’s inactiveness in meeting Kashmiris and discussing the region’s problems.
They said Afridi heads the Kashmir committee, but unfortunately did not bother to meet or invite the “Kashmiri people”.
As the chief of the Pakistan Kashmir committee, Afridi could have informed the community and taken them in confidence about the efforts the government has been taking to resolve the Kashmir issue, the report quoted Shabbir as saying.
Other Kashmiri leaders said many of their relatives had been living on the Line of Control (LoC) and facing unwarranted cross-border aggression by Indian forces. “We wanted to inform Afridi of this.”
When asked about Afridi’s visit to the consulate and Kashmiris, Press Counsellor Shazia Siraj initially declined to comment. She later said if Kashmiris had shown interest to have a meeting with Afridi, the consulate could have arranged it.
Siraj, however, did not comment on why Kashmir issue was missing in the consulate’s press statement.
Afridi was appointed as the chief of the Parliamentary Special Committee on Kashmir in May 2020. The committee that comprises senior members of the National Assembly and the Senate, monitors human rights violations and atrocities being committed by Indian forces in occupied Jammu and Kashmir besides raising the same in all necessary forms.
Other objectives of the committee include increasing awareness within as well as outside the country about the Kashmir issue, mobilisation of world opinion in support of the cause of right of self-determination to the people of Kashmir as well as the principle stand of Pakistan, and provision of political, moral and diplomatic support to Kashmiris in accordance with the United Nations (UN) resolutions.
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