EDDAH: The Pakistan Repatriation Council (PRC) called upon the political parties jockeying for power in Pakistan to spell out how they would resolve the issues of Kashmir, stranded Pakistanis and the Kalabagh dam. In a resolution adopted at a symposium held here to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day, the PRC urged the politicians contesting elections to explain in their manifesto how they would tackle the growing power shortage, rising prices and unemployment.
It also urged President Pervez Musharraf to reactivate the Rabita Trust for resuming the repatriation of stranded Pakistanis. Islamabad should ask the UN and the US to press India to hold plebiscite in Kashmir and Kashmiris should be included in peace talks, the resolution added.
Speakers at the meeting presided over by poet and writer Naseem Sehar called on Islamabad to take up the issue of stranded Pakistanis on priority. Mohammad Jamil Rathore, general secretary of Pakistan Journalists Forum, said, “We have not been able to resolve a number of national issues during the past six decades.”
Waseem Shahid said it was disappointing that a mainstream Pakistani political leader like Maulana Fazlur Rehman was unaware of developments concerning stranded Pakistanis. Sardar Rahmat Khan of the Kashmir Committee said the only solution to the Kashmir issue was a plebiscite under UN auspices. He said there were 1.5 million Bengalis and 3 million Afghans living in Pakistan but “we don’t care about the quarter of a million Pakistanis living in camps in Bangladesh.”
Riaz Bukhari, a social worker, said that a democratic government is in a better position to resolve such issues. He offered to organize a poetry session to highlight the plight of stranded Pakistanis. Mohammad Ashfaque Badaiouni said the issues of stranded Pakistanis and Kashmir continue to linger because of the lack of will on the part of our leaders.
Maqboolur Rahman Abbasi said the government should not give up negotiations on Kashmir until it becomes apparent that India is adamant and does not want to solve the issue through talks. Ghulam Nabi Butt, chairman Jammu and Kashmir Community, praised the support Pakistani government is extending to the Kashmiris. He said the issue of stranded Pakistanis warranted urgent attention.
PRC convener Ehsanul Haque said a durable peace in South Asia hinged on the resolution of the Kashmir row according to the aspirations of Kashmiris. He said it was amazing that Fazlur Rehman was unaware of the status of Rabita Trust despite the fact that most of the parties within the MMA supported their repatriation. The event was conducted by Syed Musarrat Khalil.-SANA