LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has once again shown concern over the tense relationship between Pakistan and India and has already expressed on a number of occasion while responding to queries in regards to sub-continent situation.
But this time, on Wednesday, he mentioned it in absolutely irrelevant context. Responding to question raised by Labour Member of Parliament from Slough Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi, he said that we [Britain] have serious concerns about what is happening between India and Pakistan, but these are pre-eminently matters for those two Governments to settle. “I know that he appreciates that point”, he emphasised.
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Tanmanjeet Singh had drawn the attention of the prime minister that many constituents, especially those emanating from the Punjab and other parts of India, were horrified, as I was, to see footage of water cannon, tear gas and brute force being used against peacefully protesting farmers. However, it was heart-warming to see those very farmers feeding those forces who had been ordered to beat or suppress them. What indomitable spirit—it takes a special kind of people to do that. Will the Prime Minister convey to the Indian Prime Minister our heartfelt anxieties and our hopes for a speedy resolution to the current deadlock? Does he agree that everyone has a fundamental right to peaceful protest?
It is stated that Boris Johnson seemed to confuse two separate issues when he reiterated the UK government’s stance that any dispute between India and Pakistan was for the two countries to settle bilaterally.
However, Boris Johnson, in his brief response, went on to address a completely unrelated matter instead.
Mr Dhesi, who looked visibly perplexed, was quick to take to social media as he posted the exchange on Twitter, adding: “But it might help if our PM actually knew what he was talking about!”
The UK government has so far refused to be drawn into the ongoing protests in India, with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) saying the matter of handling protests was an internal one.
Dhesi expressed his disappointment in a two-part tweet, saying “it might help if our PM actually knew what he was talking about”.
“The world is watching, issue is a huge one with hundreds of thousands protesting globally (including in London, reported on by BBC and the usual Boris Johnson bluff and bluster heaps further embarrassment onto our nation. Absolutely clueless! So disappointed with his response,” the MP added.
The gaffe was also criticised by other MPs including Sharon Hodgson, Afzal Khan and Zarah Sultana.
MP Afzal Khan reminded his followers that Johnson was the former British foreign secretary and said: “A new low even for @BorisJohnson. My friend @tandhesi asked an important question at #PMQs about the peaceful protests by farmers in Delhi. The PM responded with a rehearsed and unrelated answer about India and Pakistan. The issue has nothing to do with Pakistan. Incredible.”
MP Sultana said: “Is it too much to ask for a PM who knows the difference between Kashmir & Punjab?”