ISLAMABAD: A three-member delegation of British Parliament is on visit to Pakistan and Azad Kashmir. The members of delegation, including Lord Wajid Khan, Naz Shah, and Muhammad Yasin, held a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan at his office. The delegation appreciated the prime minister for raising the voice on Islamophobia and for taking steps for social protection and poverty alleviation for the economically and socially backward classes.
They also lauded the steps taken by the newly elected government for the public welfare in Azad Kashmir. The meeting discussed various initiatives of the present government, people-friendly policies, and initiatives to highlight the Kashmir issue.
On the occasion, PM Imran Khan said the welfare state and the rule of law were the golden rules of the state of Medina. Furthermore, PM Khan added that the government was taking steps to fully establish justice and the rule of law in the country.
The premier said that for the development of society, it is necessary to pay attention to the development of every section of society. He appreciated the efforts of Pakistan origin MPs to highlight the Kashmir issue and a campaign to remove Pakistan from oainful ‘Red List’.
Naz Shah MP’s interview
Member of the UK Parliament, Naz Shah, on Tuesday said voices against atrocities in J&K needed to be galvanised at a grassroots level to make them heard effectively at the international level.
In an interview with the Associated Press of Pakistan during her visit to Pakistan, she said that attention raised on human rights violations in J&K such as the incidents of killings, rapes and pellet gun attacks would have more impact with a global audience than just parliaments.
She said a “strategic shift” in media was required to inform the world about the infringement of the legitimate rights of Kashmiris.
Shah called for spreading the word through active social media platforms about the plight of the elderly generation which was a witness to the Indian brutalities in J&K for decades and also the difficulties faced by the youth who continue to suffer “grave inhumanities”.
The Labour MP for Bradford West — known for her strong support in the House of Commons for the people of Kashmir, women and minorities — emphasised that the untold stories of the abuse in J&K needed to be delivered to the young people in the world as part of effective lobbying for the Kashmir cause.
“Relevant information and videos on social media depicting the situation in occupied Kashmir can generate immense international pressure,” Shah said.
“We have seen that the issue of climate change and Black Lives Matter was all about successful media campaigns.”
She said the topic of Kashmir was very close to her heart since she had spent her teenage years in Azad Kashmir.
“Until every daughter in Kashmir is free of rape, people get united with families and do their businesses without having the fear of getting blinded by pellet guns, I will not stop speaking about the reality of Kashmir,” Shah said.
She said it was “tragic” that the demography of ‘IoK’was being changed by those having no historical attachment with the Valley.
“You do not need to be a Kashmiri but a human to see the atrocities in Kashmir,” she said.
Islamophobia in Europe
Asked about the growing Islamophobia in Europe, she said the western democracies needed to understand that the feelings of Muslims were hurt when caricatures of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) were made.
“If people in the West can understand the emotional connections to the desecration of a statue, they also need to recognise the connection the Muslims have with their prophet,” she said.
Shah, who is the UKs shadow minister for communities, said that she had been emphasising that Islamophobia did not need any legislation, but an understanding by the people to not hurt Muslims.
Pointing to the rise in gendered Islamophobia where women and children bore the brunt, she said: “We need to stop it by talking about it.”
On the status of parliamentary ties between Pakistan and the UK, Shah said that the relationship needs to be strengthened.
She suggested that it would be useful to have some briefings on Kashmir prepared beforehand and given to the UK MPs and other countries to empower them to speak effectively for the rights of the Kashmiris.