Pakistan News

‘Indian-held Kashmir assembly speaker not to be invited to conference’

‘Indian-held Kashmir assembly speaker not to be invited to conference’

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will not invite the speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir assembly to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC), slated to be held in Islamabad next month.

Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, who is also the president of CPC said Pakistan’s position on the matter is clear. “The assembly of Indian held Kashmir is not legitimate so we will not accept it,” he said.

Ayaz Sadiq was talking to media personnel on Monday, after attending the launch of the National Assembly’s Strategic Plan 2014-18. “If India does not attend the conference, because of the Kashmir issue, it is their choice. We cannot budge from our stand,” he said.

He said that the Jammu and Kashmir issue remains on the UN agenda and has been an unsettled dispute since 1947.

During the 60th conference, held in Cameroon last October, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq had been elected the president of CPA. It was also decided that the 61st conference of the CPA would be held in Islamabad from September 30th to October 18th.

On Monday, the national assembly speaker said invitations had been extended to all member countries and most responded warmly.

“However, India is now showing reluctance towards attending the conference as we had decided to not invite the Srinagar based assembly,” he said, adding that the CPC Executive Committee was monitoring the development.

Mr Sadiq said the executive committee would make a decision on the issue on August 15.

Earlier, the speaker had launched the Strategic Plan at the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Affairs (PIPS), aimed at transforming the assembly into a more modern, efficient, transparent and responsive institution.

A large number of people including lawmakers and diplomats attended the launching ceremony.

MNA Marriyum Aurangzeb presented the salient feature of the Strategic Plan, saying the plan is focused on six goals which include strengthening of legislation, ensuring oversight, transparency, accountability and judicious utilisation of time and resources, safeguarding integrity and improving the representative role of members.

She said the plan also hopes to introduce structural reforms in improving communication and using technology to improve efficiency of the parliament.

The speaker stated that the national assembly is fully committed to accomplishing the goals set in the Strategic Plan.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2015

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