CONSTITUTION OF KASHMIR COMMITTEE
Because of its picturesque natural beauty, Kashmir is known the world over as ‘the Paradise on Earth’. However, the history of the Kashmir people has been a saga of poverty, agony and oppression. They have been victims of the relentless tyranny of the callous rulers for centuries. Therefore, the miseries and injustice suffered by the hapless Kashmiris did evoke sympathies and support from the people of the adjoining areas. To espouse the cause of the Kashmiris as well as to extend solidarity, various organizations were formed before Partition. Prominent among them were the All India Muslim Kashmiri Conference and the All India Kashmir Committee. The former was formulated at Lahore in 1908. Allama Iqbal and Muhammad Din Fauq were its prominent leaders. The latter was constituted in 1931 at Simla. It was formerly headed by Mirza Bashir Ahmad and later by Allama Iqbal. This Committee highlighted the atrocities inflicted on the Kashmiris at national and international level. Due to its efforts, the “Kashmir Day” was observed on 14th August, 1931 in India and Burma.
After the Partition, another Kashmir Committee, comprising the Kashmiri leader Ch. Ghulam Abbas, Maulana Maudoodi, Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan and Ch. Mohammad Ali was formed. In 1990, for pursuing the Kashmir cause, the Kashmir National Council was set up with Foreign Minister Sahibzada Yaqub Khan its Chairman and Khawaja Tariq Rahim, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs its Vice Chairman.
During the nineties, two Parliamentary Committees were established. The first one, comprising 24 members (MNAs: 21 & Senators: 3) was headed by late Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, MNA (December, 1993 – November, 1996); whereas the second, with 26 members (MNAs) was led by late Ch. Mohammad Sarwar Khan, MNA (May, 1997 – October, 1999). The third Parliamentary Kashmir Committee was established in June, 2004 with Ch. Hamid Nasir Chattha, MNA its Chairman. The Committee comprised 49 members (MNAs: 36 & Senators: 13) and continued until November, 2007. Fourteen of its Members were Ministers also. Its Chairman, too, enjoyed status of Federal Minister.
The present Special Committee of the National Assembly was constituted by the Assembly through a motion on 19th August, 2008. The Committee held its first meeting on 16th September, 2008 and unanimously elected Maulana Fazl-ur-Rahman, MNA its Chairman. He has been accorded status of Federal Minister.
The nature has welded the Pakistanis and the Kashmiris through the geographical, religious and cultural bonds into an inseparable entity. The hearts of both peoples throb together. If one is hurt, the other feels the pain. Formulation of the Parliamentary Kashmir Committees is an unequivocal manifestation of an abiding and unflagging commitment of the Pakistani nation to the Kashmir cause. The importance of the Kashmir cause and the Committee can be realized from the fact that when the parliament was not in position, a National Kashmir Committee, headed by Sardar Muhammad Abdul Qayyum, former President of AJK, was formulated, which continued until the establishment of the National Assembly in 2002.