LONDON: AJK President Sardar Masood Khan has urged Britain to take up the issue of human rights violations in J&K with India in its capacity as the permanent member of the UN Security Council and it should play a leadership role in sensitising the world body about the fast deteriorating security situation along the line of control.
Sardar Masood Khan made this appeal during a hearing on Kashmir held here on Wednesday at the House of Commons by the All-Party Parliamentary Kashmir Group (APPG) which was chaired by Chris Leslie MP. Sardar Masood was invited to witness the account about Kashmir situation. The APPG had also invited the J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to the hearing but she did not come to London to join the meeting.
The APPG supports the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people through dialogue; seeks support from the British parliamentarians for the Kashmir cause; highlights the human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir; and seeks justice for the people of Kashmir. At the hearing, President Masood Khan pleaded for higher visibility for the Kashmir dispute in the British Parliament and underlined the need for international intercession through the UN for the resolution of the dispute. The President urged the fourteen Members of Parliament and two Lords (Lord Nazir Ahmed and Lord Qurban Hussain) who were present at the hearing to help make the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) an effective peace keeping mission.
At present, there were only 44 experts supported by 71 civilians making it one of the smallest missions. In addition, India is not allowing it to work at all. Earlier, the President attended, as a visitor, the Prime Minister’s Question Time at the House of Commons during which Prime Minister Theresa May responded to a series of questions. Separately, Pakistan High Commissioner Syed Ibne Abbas hosted a lunch in honour of the President which was attended by 10 British parliamentarians. Fabian Uziell-Hamilton, Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament, and Khalid Mahmood, Shadow Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Europe), also jointly received President Masood Khan in their chamber and assured him of full awareness of the atrocities in the Occupied Kashmir.
They said that though there was little articulation on the Kashmir issue at the government level, at the constituency level concerns about human rights abuses in J&K were deep. They said that Kashmir was the most palpable issue in the UK despite lack of governmental action. The President thanked the Labour Party for including a commitment on Kashmir in its election manifesto and for trying to shine a light on the issue in the House of Commons. He appealed to the British Parliamentarians of all parties to raise the issue of Kashmir during the Prime Minister’s Question Time, hold a debate on Kashmir in the Chamber, like the one that was held in January 2017, and organise events on Kashmir on the sidelines.