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Event Title: Senator Prof. Sajid Mir , presiding over a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan at Parliament House, Islamabad

Event Date: 2023-07-13

A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan was held today at the Parliament House, chaired by Senator Prof. Sajid Mir.

At the outset, a comprehensive briefing was given by Additional secretary from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding the steps taken by the Government of Pakistan to highlight the issue of repealing Articles 370 and 35A, which revoked the special status of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir by India, on various international forums. The officials emphasized that Kashmir is a cornerstone of Pakistan's foreign policy. Since India's unilateral actions on August 5, 2019, the Government of Pakistan made a fundamental decision not to engage with India bilaterally until the previous status of Jammu and Kashmir is restored. The officials stated that Pakistan's commitment to the Kashmir cause is evident from our efforts to raise awareness about the plight of Kashmiri people at international platforms such as the UN. These efforts aim to sensitize the international community about the human rights violations committed by Indian forces. The officials cited the Pak-China joint statement as an example, which called for the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue in accordance with relevant UN resolutions and bilateral agreements. Senator Prof. Sajid Mir, the chairman of the committee, emphasized the need to highlight these efforts to dispel the perception that the Kashmir issue is being ignored.

The committee was also briefed on the progress of the construction of Ms Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Medical College in Mirpur and Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq Shaheed Medical College in Muzaffarabad. It was informed that the revised project, which includes the construction of 11 buildings such as an auditorium, hostels for boys/girls/doctors, library, and sports gymnasium, was approved by the CDWP in 2022. Regarding Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq Shaheed Medical College Muzaffarabad ,the revised project for civil and external development works was also approved by the CDWP in 2022. During the discussion, some issues and bottlenecks arising from the change in the mechanism of engagement between AJK and the federal government were highlighted. The chair directed the ministry to collaborate with the AJK government and resolve these pending issues as soon as possible.

Furthermore, the committee received a briefing on the means of energy supply to Gilgit Baltistan, including the feasibility of constructing new small and large dams and watersheds in potential areas. Officials informed that several projects, such as the 100 MW KIU HPP near Gilgit, 80 MW Phander, 40 MW Bashu, 15 MW Sakarkoi, 15 MW Golodass, 10 MW Tormik, 10 MW Juglot Sai, and 10 MW Tangir, along with the establishment of regional grids in Gilgit Baltistan, are ready for implementation. Regarding the HPP on Sadpara Lake, some water rights issues were highlighted by Wapda officials, and the chair directed them to coordinate with the GB government to address these concerns.

Lastly, the committee offered prayers on the occasion of Youm-e-Shuhada-e-Kashmir.

The committee meeting was attended by Senator Hilal Rehman, SAPM Qamar Zaman Qaira, senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan, and Wapda.