European Parliament body working to resolve Kashmir issue
30 June 2006
The Daily Times
New Delhi: The Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament is preparing an initiative report on earthquake rehabilitation in Kashmir and a final solution to the Kashmir problem. Baroness Emma Nicholson, member of the European Parliament (MEP) and co-rapporteur and vice-president of the committee, who recently visited Kashmir, has proposed a debate on Kashmir. According to a press release issued here by the European Commission, the first draft of the report is expected to be tabled by mid-July. The debate will take place in the European Parliament sometime around September. On the first day in Delhi, Nicholson had meetings with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran, government’s interlocutor for Jammu and Kashmir NN Vohra and National Commission on Human Rights Member Justice AS Anand. She also met Francisco Da Camara Gomes, head of the delegation of the European Commission in India. According to the commission, Nicholson during all meetings explained the purpose of the mission and seized the occasion to update herself on all political questions related to Kashmir. She also visited Jammu and Kashmir, in a fact-finding mission to take stock of the situation before drafting the report. She was accompanied by her Assistant Paul Emmet, European Commission Political Counsellor Cristina Martins Barreira, Ministry of External Affairs Under Secretary KK Sharma and Radha Kumar from the Delhi Policy Group. In Kashmir, the delegation got an overview from the army of the general security situation and its contribution to the rescue and rehabilitation in the aftermath of the earthquake. She also met representatives from the tourism sector, the chamber of commerce and industry and NGOs involved in earthquake relief operations, a group of National Conference leaders, Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Beig and Mehbooba Mufti. The delegation also called on Governor Lt Gen (r) SK Sinha. On June 27, the delegation had a meeting with a leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). It later met Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and then left for Jammu. Later, the delegation visited Poonch where it was given a briefing by the army and then it left for the LoC crossing point, which was opened recently for the Poonch-Rawalkot bus. Still in Poonch, the delegation had a meeting with divided families, activists representing various sections of society and community leaders. The delegation visited camps housing the migrant Pandit community and Valley migrants.