European Parliament announces new timetable for Kashmir report
16 February 2007
Indo-Asian News Service
Brussels: Baroness Emma Nicholson, rapporteur of the European Parliament's (EP) draft report on Kashmir, has announced a new timetable for her report to pass through the various stages of the parliamentary process.The debate on the 450 amendments put forward by her and her MEP (Members of the European Parliament) colleagues will now take place on Feb 26 in the EP's Foreign Affairs Committee meeting, reported INEP.The 15-page draft report on Kashmir was due to be adopted by the foreign affairs committee on Jan 30, but due to the record number of proposed amendments it was postponed.Pakistan and Pakistani-backed Kashmiri groups have been doing intense lobbying to amend the report which criticised the democracy deficit in Pakistan and the human rights situation in the Pakistani-administered part of Kashmir.The time now allocated for the debate is substantial. MEPs will have up to 2.5 hours to explore the different possibilities that the amendments offer, as well as the so-called 'compromise amendments' that the Baroness (as rapporteur) and the various shadow rapporteurs from the other political groups have been discussing during this week's plenary session of the EP.The vote on all of the amendments (compromise or other) is now scheduled to take place on Wednesday March 21. 'I am grateful to the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee for this additional time, given the immense interest this report has generated. It will allow me further opportunities to meet those outside the Parliament who wish to discuss the draft report and its amendments,' said Nicholson in a statement received by INEP.'This does not mark the end of the draft report process; the next part is the plenary vote the precise date of which is yet to be decided,' she added.