Pakistan was once again shamed for its stand on Kashmir on an international forum. A global meet on sustainable development in the Maldives devolved into a fracas after Pakistan’s delegate raised the Kashmir issue in Maldivian Parliament as the Maldivian Speaker failed to restore order in the house.
India promptly rebuked Pakistan for raising India’s internal issue and trying to politicise the forum for other purposes.
The Maldives is currently hosting the 4th South Asian Speakers’ Summit on ‘Achieving the Sustainable Goals’ (SDGs). As part of India’s delegation, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Harivansh Narayan Singh, Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha were in Male to attend the meet.
As a discussion was underway on the summit in the Maldivian parliament, Pakistan delegate Qasim Suri chose to raise the issue of Kashmir before the house.
“We cannot ignore the oppression of Kashmiris,” said Qasim Suri as the house descended into protest.
India lodged a strong protest against Pakistan’s move. Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha Harivansh Narayan Singh said, “We strongly object to raising of the internal matter of India in this forum. We also reject the politicisation of the forum by raising issues which are extraneous to the theme of the summit.”
Singh also urged Pakistan to stop its support to terrorism. “There is a need for Pakistan to end cross-border terrorism and all kinds of state support to the same in the interest of regional peace and stability. Terrorism is the biggest threat to the entire humanity in the world today,” he said.
India also emphasised that the summit was meant to discuss sustainable development goals and hence remarks made by the Pakistan delegate should be deleted from the record. “…this forum is only meant to discuss SDGs. This [Pakistan’s comment] should not be a part of the proceedings. I strongly object this part should be deleted,” Harivansh Narayan Singh said.
After India castigated Pakistan, Pakistani Senator Qurat ul Ain Marri rose in protest and launched an angry rant against India. She claimed that the Kashmir issue is directly related to a discussion on sustainable development goals. “SDGs — all of them whether about women, youth or environment — nothing can be achieved without human rights. The atrocities meted out to Kashmir…” she said but was stopped by the Maldivian Speaker Mohamed Nasheed who was presiding over the session.
India again slammed Pakistan and said that a country responsible for committing genocide against its own people [Bangladeshis] has no moral right to raise the issue of Kashmir.
Even as Pakistani senator Marri tried to claim that Pakistan is not a “purveyor of terror” but a “victim”, India reminded Pakistan about Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
Eventually, Maldivian Speaker Nasheed had to shout repeatedly to bring the house to order but his appeals went unheard.
Sources told India Today TV that India already knew that Pakistan would raise the Kashmir issue in the Maldives.
“Speaker Nasheed and the Maldivian administration told the Pakistani delegation to stick to the agenda and not raise any political issues. Despite that Pakistan made it political. Speaker Nasheed has assured India that all references to Kashmir would be expunged from the records,” said the source.
(with inputs from Geeta Mohan)