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APC: Will joint opposition politicize Kashmir dispute for vested interests?

The joint opposition is likely to put pressure on the government to seek some concessions for the arrested leadership of the both mainstream political parties

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News Analysis |

The joint opposition is once again going to hold All Parties Conference today in Islamabad. In this regard, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman held a meeting in Islamabad on Sunday.

According to sources, during the conference, the joint opposition will huddle to evolve a joint strategy over the Kashmir issue as well as the political turmoil. However, PPP chairman and Opposition leader, Shehbaz Sharif, are not going to attend the meeting.

This will be the first the opposition would be meeting after a humiliating defeat in the no-trust vote against Senate chief Sadiq Sanjrani.

There seemed to be an apparent rift within the joint opposition as well, given both major parties, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and PPP, had hurled accusation at each other after some of their members allegedly sold off their votes. An investigation into the vote is underway.

Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi has said that it is the diplomatic win of Pakistan that Security Council took up the issue of Kashmir after 50 years.

Sources claim that the meeting is going to be the first formal gathering of the opposition leaders to devise a joint strategy to challenge the incumbent government over its allegedly failed Kashmir policy. The mainstream political parties have already politicized the Kashmir issue despite Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s repeated requests not to do so.

Before arrest by the NAB, PML-N leader, Maryam Nawaz had said “no support from the opposition should be offered to a government that is not only non-representative but has brought Pak to its knees in every possible way. Any support lent to this government will lead to more disasters. All this government can do is to surrender & capitulate”.

Similarly, President PPP Punjab Qamar Zaman Kaira and General Secretary PPP Punjab Chaudhry Manzoor Ahmed along with other PPP leaders criticized the government for its alleged failure to take up the issue of Kashmir before the international community.

The PPP leadership pointed out that the PTI government is busy in victimizing its political opponents. The government has arrested leaders of PPP and PML (N) and has done nothing on any front, they said.

Read more: UN concerned over human rights situation in Indian Occupied Kashmir

“It is so unfortunate that Faryal Talpur was transferred to prison at midnight when his brother was in NAB’s custody and Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was in Muzaffarabad to celebrate Eid with his Kashmiri brethren. This coward government had earlier arrested Maryam Nawaz in front of his father when she was visiting him in prison. This all is being done to satisfy the ego of puppet prime minister,” the PPP leaders added.

Oppositions’ concern over the current government’s capabilities raise question in the present context when the UN Security Council held a consultative meeting to discuss the issue of Kashmir almost after 50 years.

China, Pakistan’s alley, categorically termed the act of annexation invalid and something which may lead to serious political instability in the region and beyond.

Similarly, the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) also issued a strong-worded statement and demanded immediately end to curfew and widespread violations of human rights in Kashmir. The OIC also demanded a fact-finding commission under the UN to ascertain the state of human rights in the valley.

Read more: UNSC to meet and discuss Kashmir after 50 years: Diplomatic sources

Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi has said that it is the diplomatic win of Pakistan that Security Council took up the issue of Kashmir after 50 years. She also said that the Indian representative at the UN looked defensive who later had to accept that the Kashmir is an internationally recognized disputed territory.

The joint opposition is likely to put pressure on the government to seek some concessions for the arrested leadership of the both mainstream political parties. However, Primer Khan has already cleared that there is no other option except the plea bargain.

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