Avoid support to militant groups in Kashmir: Pakistan panel to govt

Islamabad, Feb 2: A Pakistani parliamentary panel has asked the government to avoid "encouraging" support to militant groups in Kashmir and take action against outfits involved in attacks there to dispel international concerns.

The National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs yesterday issued a four-page policy paper linked to Kashmir, the Express Tribune reported.


"Pakistan should not encourage calls for active support to armed, banned, militant groups in Kashmir," the paper, that has a series of policy recommendations on Indo-Pak ties, said. India has been demanding that Pakistan act against militant groups operating from its soil.

The committee, headed by ruling Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz (PML-N) lawmaker Awais Ahmad Leghari, proposed the government to take action against "violent armed outfits" to dispel international concerns that Pakistan was not doing enough against groups involved in attacks in Kashmir.

The panel suggested that Pakistan's policy towards India should be based on four key principles -- reciprocity, reduction, resumption and result.

"Pakistan should continue seeking comprehensive engagement with India on all outstanding issues," it said.

In the absence of this scenario, however, the committee recommended that the government engage with India on four key issues -- Kashmir, water, trade, and culture and communication.

On Kashmir, the panel recommended that Pakistan continue calling for resolution of the dispute as the core issue between the two countries.

"A key component of Pakistan's proactive involvement on the Kashmir issue should be lending solid diplomatic and moral support to the Kashmiris," it said.

On the water issue, the panel said the issues should be discussed holistically rather than focusing on particular projects. It called for highlighting issues related to the Indus Water Treaty in international forums.

On trade, the committee said Pakistan should focus more on reducing and controlling informal trade with India.

"This can be done through enhancing the capacity of the customs department and the border forces. Furthermore, by relaxing the process to acquire visa, informal trade can be controlled," it said.


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