India and Pakistan may resolve Kashmirissue themselves, UK monitoring situation: Rory Stewart


LONDON:Joint Minister for International Development and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office Rory Stewart has said that the situation in Kashmir is still tragic, as it has been for many decades.
The position of the British Government remains that this is an issue to be resolved between the Governments of India and Pakistan, but we continue to champion issues relating to human rights abuse with both Governments whenever they occur, and we will continue to monitor the situation extremely carefully. He said this at the Commons in response to a question raised by Lilian Greenwood (Nottingham South) (Lab) who asked; “We continue to hear reports of violence and human rights violations in Kashmir. Tensions in the region remain high, and there seems to have been little or no progress towards peace and security.
What recent discussions about Kashmir has the Minister had with the Indian and Pakistani Governments, and what assessment has he made of prospects for any improvement in the security situation in the region? Bob Blackman (Harrow East) (Con) asked the government that what representations has my right hon. Friend made to the Government of Pakistan about human rights abuses and the desire for freedom in Balochistan? Rory Stewart responded that Badakhshan is of course a region of Afghanistan, so interference in Badakhshan from Pakistan would be a serious issue. My hon. Friend may perhaps be referring to Balochistan, where we continue to raise reports of human rights abuses with the Government of Pakistan.
Martin Docherty-Hughes (West Dunbartonshire) (SNP) asked the minister what discussions he has had with the Government of India about their human rights record in the state of the Punjab, critically in relation to my constituent, Jagtar Singh Johal, who has been in custody since 4 November without charge? There is now a possibility—or accusation— of torture, and the Prime Minister indicated the Government’s personal interest on BBC radio yesterday. Will the Minister advise me and the House how the Secretary of State is working with the office of the Prime Minister to assist my constituent and his family in Dunbarton? Rory Stewart replied that the government has taken this issue very seriously.The deputy high commissioner managed to gain access, and we have now had a meeting with the hon.
Gentleman’s constituent. We take any allegation of torture seriously, as, indeed, do the Indian Government. It is completely unconstitutional and offensive to the British Government. We will work very closely to investigate the matter and will, of course, take extreme action if a British citizen is being tortured.