TV footage shows Arun Jaitley speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Friday. (PTI)
New Delhi/Srinagar, March 15: Both Houses of Parliament today unanimously condemned and rejected the Pakistan National Assembly’s resolution on Afzal Guru yesterday.
Calling it an “interference” in the internal affairs of the country, Parliament chose the occasion to hold Pakistan to its promise of not allowing its territory to be used for terror attacks on India.
Parliament iterated an old resolution claiming suzerainty over all parts of Kashmir, including the area under Pakistani occupation. “The entire state of Jammu and Kashmir, including the territory under illegal occupation of Pakistan, is and shall always be an integral part of India. Any attempt from any quarter to interfere in the internal affairs of India will be met resolutely and with complete unity of our nation.”
Pakistan’s National Assembly had yesterday passed a resolution condemning the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and demanded that his body be returned to his family.
The issue was first raised in Rajya Sabha by leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley during question hour.
The BJP leader called Pakistan National Assembly’s resolution an official stamp of approval by the Pakistani state on the attack on Indian Parliament. “So far, we have always alleged and there was evidence to suggest that for an attack on Indian Parliament, planning was done across the border but yesterday’s resolution seems to have confirmed our worst fears because the polity of the country unanimously condones that action by actually condemning our action in sentencing through a rule of law the person who was involved in this,” said Jaitley.
He called into question the government’s handling of foreign policy issues, especially in the context of Italy and the Maldives. India is grappling with Italian authorities to bring back two marines accused of killing two Kerala fishermen last year. The case is still pending in court and marines left for Italy to vote in general election there.
The Italian government turned on its promise to the Supreme Court and declared suo motu that the marines would not return to India to face trial.
In the Maldives, India found itself in a soup over giving extended shelter to former President Mohamed Nasheed when he entered the premises of the Indian high commission to escape a court warrant.
“I think we seriously need to discuss our foreign policy and where it is leading us, because if India can be kicked around in this manner internationally, there is something seriously wrong in the manner in which we are managing our external affairs,” Jaitley said.
He contended that in these circumstances, India cannot have a “structured dialogue” with Pakistan. The issue drew support from all members of the Rajya Sabha.
In the Lok Sabha, while the first half of the day was taken over by discussion over the exam pattern for IAS candidates, BJP leader Yashwant Sinha raised the Pakistan resolution in the afternoon. “Our Parliament has once again been attacked and this time the attack has come from Pakistan’s National Assembly,” Sinha said.
Parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath then asked the chair to move a resolution. “This is a matter concerning the nation’s sovereignty and integrity and all of us are deeply concerned with the resolution passed by the Pakistan parliament,” he said.
Afzal’s family and separatists today hailed the Pakistani resolution and hoped it might put pressure on New Delhi to return his body to the Valley.
Afzal’s elder brother Aijaz said: “Why should India be angry at Pakistan’s resolution? First, they hanged him without giving him a fair trial and then, even denied us a meeting with him or his body. If India calls itself a democracy, it should at least return his body so that we bury him.”
Afzal’s cousin Yasin expressed the hope that the Organisation of Islamic Countries would follow in the footsteps of Pakistan and pass a similar resolution.
Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani said Pakistan was a well-wisher of Kashmris and hoped Islamabad would take more such steps to apprise the international community of the alleged human rights abuses committed by security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.