J&K Eligible To Attend All Commonwealth Meetings

21 August 2015
The Daily Excelsior
Neeraj Rohmetra

Jammu: Virtually vindicating the stand of Government of India over participation of Jammu and Kashmir Branch in the then proposed 61st Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference, 2015 in Islamabad, the London based Association has issued an official statement stating that Pakistan had failed to uphold the CPA Constitution. According to the communiqué issued by CPA Secretariat, which is in possession of EXCELSIOR, the Association was compelled to scrap the proposed Conference in October, this year in Islamabad due to inability of the host country to invite Jammu and Kashmir branch, which is an eligible member of Parliamentary Association. Official sources said, 'the decision had been taken specifically because Pakistan had failed to uphold the CPA constitution', adding, 'the Association held an emergency meeting on August 19 and while endorsing India's view point felt that non-invitation of a branch that is in good financial standing with the Association, such as Jammu and Kashmir would amount to breach of Articles 10(2) (e) and 11(4) (d) of its Construction.' The provisions clearly state that the Jammu and Kashmir was entitled to attend the CPA plenary conference and general assembly meeting held during the plenary conference. Sources categorically stated that the Islamabad Conference had been scrapped by the CPA and not by Islamabad as was claimed by Pakistan National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq in a press conference yesterday. The official statement elaborates that the 61st Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference and associated conferences, workshops, Executive and Subcommittee meeting that were scheduled to take place in Islamabad, Pakistan, from September 30 to October 8, 2015 have been cancelled by the CPA International Executive Committee. The decision of the CPA comes in the wake of tough stance taken by India against the Pakistan's decision of not inviting Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Speaker to the Conference despite being eligible for the same. 'With the result the CPA International Executive Committee will now meet in London, UK from September 30 to October 6, 2015 and not in Pakistan', said the official statement. It is pertinent to mention here that on August 7, India had issued a formal statement stating that it would boycott the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) in Islamabad next month in protest against Pakistan for not inviting the Speaker of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. The decision was taken after Lok Sabha Speaker, Sumitra Mahajan convened a meeting of Speaker of 31 Assemblies and passed a unanimous resolution condemning the unilateral action of Pakistan for not inviting Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Speaker to the 61st Conference. The resolution passed unanimously stated that the Pakistani decisions violates the 'provisions of the CPA Constitution, keeping the Executive Committee and the General Assembly of CPA in the dark while acting against the century-old tradition of CPA which is a membership organisation that has constitutionally been bound to invite all its member branches to the CPA annual conference so long as a Branch is in good financial standing with the Association.' 'The meeting resolved to call upon Dr Shirin Chaudhury, Speaker of Bangladesh Parliament and Chairperson of the CPA Executive Committee to use her good offices to immediately resolve the matter and ensure issue of invitation to the Jammu and Kashmir 'CPA Branch' failing which 'CPA India Region' including the Union and State Branches' (will) boycott the 61st Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Islamabad, Pakistan from September 30 to October 8,' the resolution said. India's Parliament and Assemblies are treated as 'India region' and all the Assemblies are the members of the CPA. The resolution underlined that Jammu and Kashmir 'fulfils all conditions' of CPA membership. 'The meeting further resolved that Chairperson and members of the Executive Committee of CPA view this matter in all seriousness and insist that Pakistan CPA Branch forfeit its right to host the 61st CP conference for not inviting Jammu and Kashmir CPA Branch to the conference in violation of Article 8 of the CPA Constitution and that the venue of the conference be shifted to another country,' it said. Article 8 of the CPA Constitution says that each 'Branch' (meaning Parliament and State Assemblies) 'shall be entitled to send prescribed number of delegates and officials to each plenary conference and accordingly Jammu and Kashmir Branch is entitled to send one delegate to the Conference.