NA: (NA pulls back as host of 61st Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference)

ISLAMABAD:The National Assembly on Thursday announced with regrets its decision to pull back as host of the 61st Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference as a consequence of the Emergency Tele-Conference of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, which was held on August 19, 2015.

It may be recalled that Speaker National Assembly Sardar Ayaz Sadiq was unanimously elected as the President of the CPA in October 2014 in Cameroon on the occasion of the 60th CPC, said a press release issued by the National Assembly here on Thursday.

It said that it was also decided there that the next Conference of the 53-Member nations’ 178 parliaments would be held in Islamabad, Pakistan from September 30 to October 8, 2015.

On its part, Pakistan had agreed to host the Conference when Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq was personally approached by the late Secretary General of the CPA Dr. William F. Shija.

He had informed the Speaker of the Association’s difficulties in finding hosts for the annual conferences and had pleaded Pakistan’s Parliament to take up the responsibility.

As an emerging democracy, Pakistan’s National Assembly had agreed to accept the request with a view to strengthen democracy, dialogue and cooperation among the developing countries of the Commonwealth.

However, at no point had the elected Parliament of Pakistan shown even a distant sign of flexibility on its principled and historic stand on Jammu & Kashmir. The unsettled dispute remains the flash-point for regional peace and stability and is very much alive on the United Nations’ agenda.

There are outstanding UN Security Council’s Resolutions on Jammu & Kashmir, which call for the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination through a free and impartial plebiscite under the UN auspices. The relevant UNSC Resolutions rule out any alternative to Plebiscite in Jammu &Kashmir as a possible disposition of this issue.

In addition, the Parliament of Pakistan, especially the National Assembly has also passed numerous unanimous resolutions, calling for the right of self-determination for the people of Jammu & Kashmir.

It was in light of this that the President of the CPA, Speaker Ayaz Sadiq decided not to extend an invitation to the Indian Occupied Jammu & Kashmir Assembly to attend the 61st CPC.

This decision reflects the firm and unwavering resolve of Pakistan to remain committed to the Kashmirs’ right of self-determination in accordance with the Resolutions of the UN Security Council at all costs, even if it means sacrificing the opportunity of hosting the CPC.

Nevertheless, the Parliament of Pakistan whole-heartedly thanks the 115 branches of the total 178 parliaments of the 53 CPA Countries, including the 415 delegates and observers, who had already registered and confirmed their participation in the Conference.

The Parliament of Pakistan hopes to host the friends and well-wishers of democracy and people’s right of self-determination as and when conducive environment prevails. It also thanks all Regions for understanding Pakistan’s principled stand.

Although the Parliament of Pakistan could not host the 61CPC, however this occasion has enabled Pakistan to once again highlight the Kashmir dispute as the unfinished agenda of the 1947 partition and remind the world community, especially the 52 countries of the Commonwealth, the plight of the Kashmiri people with a dire need for an amicable solution as per the aspiration of the people of Jammu & Kashmir.

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