Friday Sep 13 2019

European Parliament to debate urgent resolution for occupied Kashmir

Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session in Strasbourg, France, February 13, 2019. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler/Files

STRASBOURG: The European Parliament (EP) is set to debate an urgent resolution for the horrible conditions, including human rights violations, in Indian-occupied Kashmir more than a month after New Delhi scrapped the Muslim-majority region's special status and put the valley on a lockdown.

The European Union's (EU) high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Federica Mogherini, is scheduled to deliver a detailed policy statement on the Kashmir situation during the EP General Assembly to be held in the French city of Strasbourg on September 17.

The EP confirmed that Mogherini — who is also the EU Commission's vice president — would deliver the Kashmir statement, following which the general assembly is expected to debate on an urgent conflict resolution in occupied Kashmir during a full plenary session.

It is noteworthy that this is the second time in the EP's history that it would open debate on the Kashmir issue — the last time being in July 2008 when it discussed mass graves in Indian-occupied Kashmir. 

It is, therefore, another foreign policy milestone for Pakistan given the efforts of the Pakistani and Kashmiri diaspora to raise their voices in the EU, particularly the Kashmir-Council EU (KC-EU).

The high representative's statement comes as a significant leap forward in the EU as Mogherini would be taking the issue to the EP on the request of the EU's foreign ministry — the European External Action Service — that debated Kashmir issue on September 2.

The EU Commission's VP scheduled statement comes after three members of the EP asked for urgent resolution of the Kashmir issue.

The three Liberal Democrat MEPs include Irina Von Wiese, the vice-chair on the EP's Subcommittee on Human Rights, Phil Bennion, a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Subcommittee on Human Rights, and Shaffaq Mohammed, a member of the Delegation for relations with the countries of South Asia (DSAS), of which Bennion is also a member.

These MEPS, along with some others, have asked the EU to take action against India Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration in order to prevent the human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir and to pressure New Delhi to lift the lockdown and curfew in the Himalayan valley.

Back on August 31, Mogherini had stressed a peaceful solution of the Kashmir issue through a dialogue between Pakistan and India after a meeting she held with the Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in Brussels.

Advising Jaishankar to avoid an escalation, the high representative had told the Indian FM to take steps to restore the rights and freedoms of the population in Kashmir.