Pakistan’s Punjab Assembly is reportedly considering to inviting Indian novelist and rights activist Arundhati Roy to address the assembly members on ‘atrocities’ in Kashmir by Indian authorities.
Roy had in recent past raised her voice against Indian ‘atrocities’ in Kashmir, inviting flak from several quarters. Kashmir has witnessed widespread violence since July 8, when Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with Indian security forces. Since then, more than 60 civilians have been killed and 3,100 injured.
According to Pakistan’s news website Dawn, Treasury MP Sheikh Allauddin has suggested to the Punjab Assembly to invite Roy for briefing the members of the assembly on the issue.
Allauddin asked the Speaker to consider his proposal seriously.
Labour and Human Resource Minister Raja Ashfaq Sarwar, who second his suggestion, said the Foreign Office might be approached to seek its view and then only next step should be taken whether to invite her not.
“The Foreign Office may be approached in this respect and the next step should be taken in the light of its advice on invitation to Roy to visit Pakistan especially the Punjab Assembly,” Sarwar said.
The Assembly had on Thursday again expressed solidarity with Kashmir’s ‘struggle for freedom from India’.
Lawmakers condemned Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s recent statement that ‘going to Pakistan is like going to hell’ and asked the government to summon the Indian Ambassador to record a strong protest over it.
Speaking on the point of order in the Assembly, treasury member Ramesh Singh Arora said that Parrikar’s statement was ‘regrettable’.
“India has not only committed atrocities against Kashmiris for demanding their right to franchise but is also accusing Islamabad of fomenting violence in Kashmir. The propaganda against Pakistan must be checked,” he said.
Arora and other members of the Assembly demanded that the Foreign Office summon the Indian ambassador to record a strong protest against Parrikar’s statement.
A number of other members both from treasury and opposition also criticised India for the violence in Kashmir and supported the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination during the session.