Indian parliamentarians on Wednesday criticised Pakistan for raising the Jammu and Kashmir matter at the Inter Parliamentary Union in Serbia.
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, who spoke for the Indian delegation, rebutted Pakistan’s allegations, PTI reported. “We expect better from parliamentarians then vituperative mudslinging,” he said. “Madam chairperson I am a member of Parliament from the leading opposition party in India and we will continue to use our Parliament to discuss and debate with our government on Kashmir and other issues. We will fight our own battles democratically and don’t need or welcome interference from across the border.”
Tharoor is part of a delegation of Indian MPs from across party lines in Serbia’s Belgrade city to attend the 141st assembly of the global organisation of national parliaments between October 13 and October 17. The delegation was headed by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and also included the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s Kanimozhi, Congress MP Wansuk Syiem, BJP’s Ram Kumar Verma and Biju Janata Dal MP Sasmit Patra.
Reiterating India’s stance that Kashmir is an internal matter, Tharoor said, “It is ironic that a state which is responsible for infecting countless cross-border terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir is trying to masquerade as the champion of international law.” He added that matters concerning the Indian state were not relevant to the IPU Assembly.
“The Indian delegation rebutted baseless allegations of the Pakistani delegation about Jammu and Kashmir at two different sessions,” the Lok Sabha secretariat said in a statement.
“The statement that we heard from the Pakistani diplomat today is indistinctly unhelpful,” Tharoor said. “Pakistan is the only government in the world that provides a pension to an individual listed by the United Nations in the Al Qaeda sanctions list.”
He added that Pakistan was home to 130 United Nations-designated terrorists and 25 terrorists entities listed by the United Nations. “It is frankly absurd to hear fulminations about respect for human rights from representative of such a state when terrorism is the worst possible destroyer of human rights,” he added, and urged the Pakistani delegation to refrain from misusing the forum and focus on the matters under discussion.
Tensions between India and Pakistan have peaked since New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under the Constitution on August 5. It also decided to convert the state into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, and imposed a curfew which is slowly being eased. Islamabad, which has fought three wars with India for Kashmir since Independence, did not take the decision well. Pakistan responded by suspending trade with India, downgrading bilateral ties and sending back its envoy. It also approached several international bodies, including the United Nations.
India’s actions were also condemned by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, who claimed that he feared a massacre in Indian-controlled Kashmir. But India has reiterated repeatedly that Kashmir is an internal matter and does not concern Pakistan.