LONDON: Labour Member of Parliament from Hall Green (Birmingham), Mr. Tahir Ali particularly mentioned the Kashmir issue in his maiden speech on Wednesday (Feb 5) and urged its just solution to ensure the relief and satisfaction to people living in Jammu & Kashmir.
“I have waited until today, 5 February, to make my maiden speech for two reasons. Many Members in the Chamber may not be aware that today is Kashmir Solidarity Day. Kashmir Solidarity Day is in observance of support for and to express unity and solidarity with the people of Indian-administered Kashmir, and to pay homage to the tens of thousands of Kashmiris who have been martyred in the conflict by Indian armed forces”, he elaborated.
While giving brief on Kashmir, Tahir Ali said; “On 5 August—exactly six months ago today—the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Indian Government decided to strip the state of Jammu and Kashmir of autonomy after seven decades, characterising it as the correction of a historical blunder. This act is illegal and the international community’s silence on the matter is worrying”.
“In south Asia, the long drawn-out dispute over the state of Jammu and Kashmir remains a hanging fireball between two hostile nuclear neighbours, India and Pakistan. It has been bringing human misery in the form of wars on the issue and it continues to threaten regional and global peace. My role is not to take sides, such as to be pro-Pakistan or anti-India. I believe, as a Kashmiri, that it is my duty to highlight the abuses and human rights violations to this House.
“Even after seven decades, the people of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir are waiting for their right of self-determination, promised by the United Nations. Notwithstanding over 25 United Nations resolutions calling for a solution to the dispute, India remains reluctant to grant the Kashmiris their right of self-determination.
“The Scottish people were rightly afforded a referendum to express their desire for independence. The UK had a referendum on remaining in or leaving the EU. Seven decades later, the people of Kashmir are still waiting. This is not, in my view, a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan—the international community needs to take responsibility.
“More than 40% of my constituents come from the region of Kashmir, so it is important to them to see the matter resolved, but that can happen only if the international community, through the United Nations, seeks a peaceful and lasting resolution. By abrogation, the special status of Indian-administrated Jammu and Kashmir was violated on 5 August last year.
“The Indian Government has audaciously defied the basic norms and principles underpinning the concepts of democracy and human freedom. India has deprived the Kashmiris of the right to express themselves peacefully. Even elderly women who marked a silent protest in Srinagar, the capital of India-administered Kashmir, were not spared and have been detained.
“The Indian army and paramilitary forces operating in Indian-held Kashmir have deliberately and methodically violated the fundamental norms of international human rights law, for which the Indian Government are responsible, despite their being a signatory to these laws. I demand an end to all elements of siege in the Kashmir valley and the full restoration of telephony and internet and of the democratic and basic human rights of the besieged Kashmiris. I demand that they allow them and foreign media to travel and report unhindered and commit to providing a safe environment for human rights defenders and organisations so that they can conduct their work without fear”.
Summarising his views on Kashmir imbroglio, Tahir Ali said; “We have an international obligation to support peace, equality and just treatment for all humans. To quote Martin Luther King, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”.
Tahir Ali who become part of the British Parliament for the first time in his political career, also touched various issues being faced by British people particularly the issue of schools in his constituency Hall Green.