SRINAGAR: Pakistan’s Kashmir Committee led by Moula Fazl ur Rehman has emerged sort of a joke if one goes by the commentary that appeared in Pakistan media recently.
“Maulana Fazlur Rehman smiles when he has no answer to a difficult question,” Shafiq Ahmad wrote in The News on Sunday. “Whenever questions are raised by the opposition leaders and the media about his role as decade-long chairman of Parliamentary Special Committee on Kashmir and the money spent by this distinctive body, he just smiles instead of giving any answer.”
The Committee is a Special Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir that Pakistan’s National Assembly set up on August 19, 2008. In its first meeting on September 16, 2008, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman was nominated as its chairman. Committee Chairman has a federal minister’s status and lot of privileges including an office, a bulletproof car and a residence in the Ministers’ Enclave.
Ahmad has quoted people saying that Maulana’s chairmanship was part of a political arrangement of Pakistan People’s Party that Nawaz Sharief continued. PML (N) senator Enver Baig has termed the chairmanship of Moulana as “a political bribe”, which is “a joke and humiliation.”
In last ten years, Ahmad has reported the Committee was allocated Rs 473.510 million (Rs 47.35 crore) of which it has actually spent Rs 462.341 million (Rs 46.34 crore). Most of the amount – Rs 309.404 million (Rs 30.94 crore) has gone as the salary of the staff and only Rs 2.34 crore was spent on travel.
In last 10 years, Ahmad reported, the committee held 24 meetings of the parliamentarians, a meeting once 152 days. In a decade long of its existence, the Committee has issued 64 press releases of which only 62 pertain to Kashmir. It has attempted or actually met diplomats and Kashmiri delegations for 19 times in 10 years.
Its low profile, Ahmad reported is the main factor why Pakistan establishment is not looking at the Committee when it requires human resource. In 2016, in wake of the unrest over Buhran Wani killing, Nawaz Sharief flew 22 parliamentarians on Kashmir missions and it excluded the always smiling Moulana.