The European Parliament has adopted a report on Kashmir, criticising Pakistan for its lack of progress on democracy and human rights and commending India as the largest secular democracy.
On Pakistan, the report placed by Baroness Emma Nicholson on Thursday voiced concerns over fundamental freedoms and in particular the rights of women, children and minorities.
It is also concerned at report of torture, mistreatment, discrimination and corruption in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
The report noted that 'India is the world's largest secular democracy and has devolved democratic structures at all levels' while 'Pakistan still lacks full implementation of democracy in PoK, and is yet to take steps towards democracy in Gilgit and Baltistan.'
The report said Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has not been able to implement his undertaking made in 1999 that 'the armed forces have no intention of staying in charge any longer than is absolutely necessary to pave the way for true democracy to flourish in Pakistan.'
During the debate on the report, members of European Parliament regretted the 'negative chain of events set in motion by the suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry' and deplored the recent outbreaks of violence in Pakistan, according to an official release issued by the European Parliament.
The report asked Pakistan to ensure free and fair elections in the PoK, Gilgit and Baltistan and MEPs regretted the 'continuing ambivalence' of the Pakistan government with regard to the ethnic identity of Gilgit and Baltistan.
The House also expressed concern at 'documented human rights violations by Pakistan' in Gilgit and Baltistan and at reports of torture and mistreatment, discrimination, and corruption in PoK.
It also urged the Indian government to 'put an end to all practices of extrajudicial killings, disappearances, torture and arbitrary detention in Jammu and Kashmir,' and to establish an independent commission of inquiry into serious violations of human rights by Indian security forces.
The members called on both governments to allow international human rights groups access to the region for investigations.
It pointed out that the Kashmir issue has festered for nearly six decades and said the resolution of the 'conflict can best be achieved jointly by constant engagement between India and Pakistan.'
'Resolution of the continuing conflict along the LoC can best be achieved jointly by a constant engagement between the governments of India and Pakistan, involving the peoples of all parts of the former princely state,' the report said.
It commended both countries on the peace moves underway and welcomed the restoration of bilateral talks.
The Nicholoson report reaffirmed that 'all people have the inalienable right of self-determination,' while pointing to the fact that 'the pre-conditions for invoking the plebiscite have not been met at present.'
Several members raised the possibility of Kashmir having self-determination in future.
The report was passed by an overwhelming majority with 522 votes in its favour and nine against it.
It expressed concerns that Pakistan 'has encouraged militants to commit atrocities" in Jammu and Kashmir and takes a firm line on human rights abuses.
Charles Tannock, an MEP, began with a reference to the 'tragic and bloody dispute' between India and Pakistan, which 'is one of the oldest in the world.' He congratulated Nicholson on the 'content and quality' of the report, in particular the 'accurate tone' in which it was written.
James Elles, while welcoming the report, expressed concern over 'the question of machine-readable Pakistan passports.'Neena Gill said in time the report 'will be an authoritative report on the issue. It has brought out into the open for the first time the conditions prevailing not only in Kashmir but also in northern areas.'