JK integral part of India: LS Speaker

Asserting that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Thursday told Pakistan that New Delhi’s overtures should not be seen as a “sign of weakness”.

Criticising Islamabad, Birla said the international community should isolate Pakistan, a country whose former prime minister had glorified the Osama Bin Laden as a “martyr” from its Parliament.

Birla’s sharp remarks came after Pakistan raised the Kashmir issue at the World Conference of Speakers of Parliament being held virtually, according to sources.

Exercising India’s right to reply, Birla said in a written statement, “Pakistan’s PM had admitted to (having) nearly 40,000 militants on its soil. Pakistan’s aggressions against Jammu and Kashmir in 1965, 1971, 1999 (Kargil) and attacks on Mumbai, Parliament, Uri, Pulwama prove the neighbouring country’s state-sponsored policy of terrorism.” Underlining that Jammu and Kashmir “has been and will remain an integral part of India,” Birla said, “We call upon Pakistan to end cross-border terrorism. Our overtures should not be taken as sign for weakness.” Birla was leading the Indian parliamentary delegation to the two-day conference.