MPs call for UK’s influence to resolve Kashmir dispute, ban on Indian envoy’s Parliament entry

London, September 25 (KMS): The Members of British Parliament have called on their government to use its weight to help resolve the decades old Kashmir dispute, and that the entry of the Indian High Commissioner in the parliament be barred.

In a debate on a motion moved by the MPs from the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Kashmir in the House of Commons on Thursday, the parliamentarians asked the UK government to use its influence to ensure investigation of the terrible situation.

Opposition Labour Party MP Debbie Abrahams opened the debate, which saw the participation of over 20 cross-party MPs from both sides, and spoke about her February 2020 visit to Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

“The Pakistani government allowed us unfettered access. We used our meetings to ask pointed questions related to human rights issues highlighted in United Nations reports,” she said. “Kashmiris must be at the heart of a trilateral peace building process.” Robbie Moore, the Conservative MP for Keighley, said, “we can use our influence to ensure that this terrible situation is investigated and that our government uses its weight and its influence to put pressure to seek a solution.”

In a passionate speech, Yasmin Qureshi, Labour MP for Bolton South East, outlined the human rights abuses faced by Kashmiris, saying, “In the last two years, human rights groups have documented the everyday reality of this governance for Kashmiris. Mass arrests and raids, torture, the suppression of free assembly, the crushing of the Kashmiri press, the decimation of the local economy, the crippling of the education system, the incarceration of thousands of people.”

Imran Hussain, Labour MP for Bradford East, said he expected the UK government to suggest that disputes in the region should be resolved bilaterally and also stand up for the rights of oppressed people. In a passionate speech, which was critical of India and its actions in occupied Jammu and Kashmir, Imran Hussain said the UK and other countries needed to speak up and end their silence.

He told the House of Commons: “For over 70 years, the sons and daughters of Kashmir have been subjected to persecution, oppression, injustice in the most brutal manner. For over 70 years, they have been butchered, maimed and killed at the hands of an occupying Indian military operating under the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act.”

Labour MP Tahir Ali called for the Indian high commissioner to the UK to be barred from Parliament because of the military occupation of Kashmir. The Birmingham Hall Green MP said action should be taken by the UK because the situation in Kashmir is “another example of the mess left by the British government in 1947”.

“British parliamentarians, Indian politicians sympathetic to the Kashmiris, international observers are all denied access to the Indian-occupied Kashmir. Earlier this month, China’s ambassador to the UK was prevented from entering Parliament to attend a meeting with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on China,” he said.

“So I ask the same justification is given and measures taken against the Indian high commissioner, who is still allowed onto the Parliamentary estate. It seems like we are prepared to take action against China but not India. This is clearly double standards, and why I am demanding the Indian high commissioner is barred from the Parliamentary estate pending an end to the military occupation of Kashmir,” he added.

Debbie Abrahams, Chair of All Parties Parliamentary Group on Kashmir, condemned human right abuses in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir. She lauded Pakistan for always facilitating their visits to Azad Kashmir but added that India never allowed such access. She pointed out that journalists are not allowed in IIOJK.

Several MPs mentioned that Pakistan’s High Commissioner Moazzam Ahmad Khan had sent them a dossier on human rights abuses in IIOJK which was an eye-opener.

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