While Pakistan was seeking self-determination in Jammu and Kashmir, "it was not even prepared to allow democracy on its side of the border," Baronness Emma Nicholson MEP said at a two-day international conference on 'Constitutional, Political and Socio-economic conditions of Gilgit Baltistan' at the European Parliament in Brussels on Tuesday.
Nicholson, who represents the Liberal Democratic Party, had authored a report on the "suppression of human rights" in the Northern Areas of PoK which was adopted by the European Parliament in 2007.
Participating in the conference, another MEP Geoffrey van Orden said while there had been extensive political and economic development in the Indian side of J and K, this was "totally lacking" in PoK.
Charles Tannock, MEP from the UK, drew a sharp contrast between India and Pakistan in terms of economic development and democracy, while UNPO chief Marino Musdaschin said there could be no progress on Kashmir "till the initiation of full political process in PoK".
The conference was also attended by several other MEPs, NGO representatives and leaders of the International Kashmir Alliance (IKA).
IKA General Secretary Shaukat Ali Kashmiri wanted the European Parliament to set up a fact-finding mission on the ground realities in the Gilgit and Baltistan region and other parts of the PoK. He also sought starting of a bus service between Gilgit-Baltistan in PoK and Ladakh as part of Indo-Pak confidence-building measures.