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Thursday, 1 November 2012

JKLF launch Parliamentary petition in UK for return of Maqbool Butt remains

London (1 November, 2012):
Kashmir’s premier pro-independence party, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) today launched a parliamentary petition to be signed by members of Commons and Lords during an All Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir meeting in London last night. At a meeting chaired by Lord Ahmed, who himself originates from Kashmir, many Kashmir related issues including the issue of Kashmir’s unmarked mass graves, forced disappearances and extra-judicial killings and imprisonment of minors as well as the constitutional issue of Azad Kashmir including Pakistan’s annexation of Gilgit-Baltistan territories were debated. It was decide that the APPG would support the move to launch a parliamentary petition to be sent to the President of India to ask for the return of mortal remains of Kashmiri independence leader, Maqbool Butt, who was hanged in Tihar jail in 1984 and buried inside the jail premises. Indian government has been refusing to return his mortal remains for burial in Kashmir for all these years. A JKLF delegation led by its president in UK, Azmat A Khan, gave a briefing at the high level meeting of members of parliament on several issues and asked for the group to take up action points. The members of the All Party Parliamentary Kashmir group who signed the petition during the meeting include, Lord Ahmed, Lord Qurban Hussain (a former leader of JKLF), Sir Gerald Kaufman MP (Manchester Gorton), David Ward MP (Bradford), Debbie Abrahams MP (Oldham), Gavin Shuker MP (Luton), Lady Sarah Ludworth (MEP). Another 6 MPs added their names to the petition later overnight.

A JKLF briefing paper was presented at the meeting, where members of two international NGOs and other official observers and researchers were present and took part in discussions as to how to move forward with the conflict resolution in Kashmir and bring about international political pressure on both India and Pakistan to honor their pledged for self-determination in Jammu-Kashmir, which has been pending for 65 years. JKLF president Azmat Khan and vice president London Cllr Mehmood Husssain stressed to the group that appropriate action in both houses of UK parliament and with relevant UK ministers was pertinent on the issues of human rights. The APP group decided to re-double its efforts in seeking permission to take a fact-finding mission to Kashmir. The JKLF briefing paper quoted several international reports which highlighted the mass scale abuses of human rights in Indian Held Kashmir and urged UK government to ban Indian security personnel from entering UK who were accused of involvement in atrocities in Jammu Kashmir.

JKLF delegation also raised concerns with constitutional issues in Azad Kashmir assembly elections where pro-independence candidates are barred from contesting elections and also demanded that Pakistani government should halt its program of illegally annexing Gilgit-Baltistan. The issue of Kashmiri ethnic identity in United Kingdom was also raised in the meeting.

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