European Union report on Kashmir backs India’s stand

published on March 27, 2007

Excerpts from Indrani Bagchi’s report in TIMES NEWS NETWORK


NEW DELHI: A European Parliament’s hotly-contested report on Kashmir – largely backing the Indian stand – finally made it through its foreign affairs committee (AFET).

Drafted by British member Baronnes Emma Nicholson, the Kashmir report was attacked repeatedly by Pakistani lobbies and even British MPs. Sixty AFET members voted in favour, following 28 amendments, 11 abstentions and one negative vote by Sajjad Karim, of Pakistani origin. The amended report will now go before the plenary of the European Parliament (EP) for approval in May.

Pakistan had lobbied relentlessly over the past few months to trash it. In fact, Pakistani officials told newspapers the vote wouldn’t happen. Although the substance of the report remains intact, the most controversial provision on plebiscite in J&K was diluted.

In what is seen as a clear endorsement of India’s position, the report observes, “India is the world’s largest secular democracy and has devolved democratic structures at all levels”, while “Pakistan still lacks full implementation of democracy in Azad Jammu & Kashmir, and has yet to take steps towards democracy in Gilgit and Baltistan”.

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