Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Friday that the discussion in the British parliament earlier in the week on Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) had made it clear that “Kashmir is not the internal problem of India.”
The Foreign Minister responded to a discussion on the situation in occupied Kashmir brought forward by Sarah Owen from Luton North in the House of Commons on January 13.
Qureshi said in a statement that British parliamentarians had made it clear, contrary to India’s representation of Kashmir as its internal issue, that the issue was in fact an internationally acknowledged conflict that had been resolved by many United Nations Security Council resolutions.
He described the progress in the UK as a “successful diplomatic approach to Pakistan” and a “source of encouragement for Kashmiris,” expressing hope that the “real face of India” will be further unveiled by such voices.
“Pakistan has for a long [time] been exposing the ongoing Indian atrocities at IoK, and now the same echo is being heard in the British parliament, endorsing Pakistan’s position against India.”
Qureshi emphasised the need for delegations from the United States Congress, the British Parliament and the European Parliament to visit IoK to receive first-hand information on the significant abuses of human rights and the status of law and order there.
As millions of Indian forces began to persecute Kashmiris, he said the situation in occupied Kashmir was “extremely worrying.” The Foreign Minister claimed that life was characterised by extrajudicial killings, unlawful arrests of young people from Kashmir, harassment of women, blockades of contact and denial of access to independent observers.
He said many congressmen were acquainted with the region and the atrocities committed against Kashmiris regarding the forthcoming administration of US President-elect Joe Biden, who is expected to take oath on January 20.
“To save the unarmed Kashmiris from Indian tyranny and prolonged military siege, we expect them to raise their voice in the US Congress,” he said.
An impassioned plea
A stirring speech was made earlier this week in Westminster Hall by UK Member of Parliament (MP) Sarah Owen of the Labour Party, where the UK Parliament witnessed a debate on the situation in occupied Kashmir.
She called on the British government to do more to condemn the situation in Kashmir, a strong supporter of the Kashmiri people who has in the past expressed unity with those living under occupation. Owen stressed in her speech how the pandemic had shaped the daily realities of Kashmiris.
Muslims claimed that they were turned away from hospitals. At the best of times, this is disturbing, but especially during a pandemic,” she said, adding: “There are various reports of rapes of Kashmiri women and children. BJP senior officials reported their plans to make Kashmiri women a part of this dispute. And I have learnt [that] women in Kashmir are afraid of being targeted on their doorstep by thousands of troops. Women fear for their life and do not feel secure in their lives.
Owen is from Luton North, which has a large number of British Pakistanis in its constituencies. The Pakistani diaspora across the UK has played an important role in highlighting the plight of people living in Kashmir under Indian occupation, especially after the Narendra Modi-led government illegally stripped the valley of its special status in August 2019.
British Pakistanis, many of whom have families in both Azad Jammu and Kashmir and in the Indian-occupied territory, have opposed the Indian government’s decision by sending letters to MPs, organising protests and posting on social media.