LONDON: Lib Dem leader Lord Qurban Hussain has suggested British Government to offer
a mediation process between India and Pakistan to bring peace in that region by resolving the Kashmir issue through peaceful means and bring an end to the agony of the Kashmiri people.
He said this while participating in the debate “Reconciliation: Role of British Foreign, Defence and International Development Policy” at the House of Lords on Friday (December 14). Altogether 23 members expressed their views on the subject.
In his opening remarks, Lord Qurban Hussain said; “We live in a time when the world’s politics are changing; new economic powers are emerging and new alliances are being formed. However, as one of the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, the world’s sixth largest economy, head of the Commonwealth and an active member of the European Union—as it stands today—Britain has an important role in international politics. I believe that Britain could use its position to do more in conflict resolution through mediation.
He said; “There are many conflicts in the world that Britain is best placed to help resolve, particularly those in the Commonwealth, where Britain enjoys good relations with all member states.
“One conflict area that I would like to draw your Lordships’ attention to is that of India and Pakistan over the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This is one of the oldest issues in the history of the United Nations: the Kashmiris are waiting for the implementation of the United Nations resolutions of 1948 and 1949.
“The United Nations Human Rights Commission report of August 2018 highlighted very serious human rights violations, including illegal detentions, torture, murder and rape, and injuries sustained by civilians at the hand of the Indian security forces. It is estimated that more than 100,000 people have been killed in Kashmir over the last couple of decades. It is important to remember that this conflict is a legacy of the British Empire and we have a moral duty to help resolve it.
“The former state is divided largely between India and Pakistan, who have been at war with each other three times and have fought many battles. Now, both countries are nuclear powers, and any war between them could have a devastating effect on not only the region but the rest of the world. Both countries are spending huge amounts on defence, largely to man the difficult mountainous range around the line of control that divides Kashmir. This year, the defence budgets of both countries show Pakistan spending $9.2 billion and India spending $63 billion”.
Lord Qurban Hussain referred a report that according to the Wall Street Journal of 22 March 2016, Indians have the worst access to safe drinking water in the world, with 76 million people having no access to clean drinking water. According to the Times of India on 23 September 2016, in India, 84 million children do not attend school and 7.8 million children have to earn a living while they study.
He said; “According to Business Today on 3 October 2016, India accounts for one in three of the poor population worldwide. In 2013, nearly 800 million people lived on less than $1.90 a day. According to the Business Standard on 4 June 2015, only around 25% of the population in India has access to healthcare services. On the other side, according to the United Nations, four out of 10 Pakistanis live in multidimensional poverty.
“The State of Pakistan’s Childrenannual report from the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child shows that 22.6 million children in Pakistan are out of school.
“In the light of all this, I wonder whether Her Majesty’s Government or the Church will offer a ray of hope to the 1.5 billion people of India and Pakistan, including 13 million Kashmiris, by offering a mediation process between India and Pakistan to bring peace in that region by resolving the Kashmir issue through peaceful means and bring an end to the agony of the Kashmiri people”, Lord Qurban Hussain emphasised.