Kashmiri delegation take up the Kashmir issue with Labour shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry
Labour Party asked to review its foreign policy on Kashmir
London 31 October, 2016: A Kashmiri delegation lead by JKLF-UK president, Sabir Gul, met with the Labour Party’s newly appointed Shadow Foreign Minister, Emily Thornberry, in her London office, and discussed with her the possibility of reviewing the party policy on Kashmir and its support for the independence movement and to call for the international intervention to curb the growing human rights violations taking place on daily basis in the Indian occupied territory. Besides JKLF president, the Kashmiri delegation consisted of the president of the J&K Liberation League, Councillor Misfar Hussan, President of J&K Freedom Movement, Councillor Ghulam Hussain, head of the British Kashmiri
Women Association, Rana Shama Nazir, and Head of JKLF’s International Political and Diplomatic Campaigns, Prof Azmat
This followed the JKLF meeting with the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) head last week, where UK government silence over the recent uprising was questioned. Expressing dissatisfaction with the current UK government attitude towards the gross human rights violations in Kashmir, JKLF’s Azmat Khan explained that there was a need for the UK Labour Party to review its foreign policy as millions of Kashmiri and Pakistani voters in the country looked towards Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership to rebalance the gap between apathy and pro-active conflict resolution approach which was very much needed. Other members of the delegation explained how they were looking forward to a future Labour government which would be able to undo some of the injustices around the world including Kashmir, where 20 million people have waited for 70 years to undo the mess left behind by the British colonial raj. They expressed concerns that UK ministers were more interested in bilateral trade with India at the cost of human rights issues and Prime Minister, Teresa May’s visit to India on 6th November would be used by India as an endorsement of its brutal repression in Kashmir, which is largely hidden from international spot light because of Syrian conflict. The JKLF leaders underlined the consequential fallout in Kashmir if the international community did not take timely measures to help resolve the Kashmir conflict.
The shadow foreign secretary raised a number of questions regarding the Azad Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan, Ladakh and Siachin territories and asked about the political and legal status of the two assemblies on both sides of the divided Kashmir.
The Kashmiri delegation explained how secret service agencies undertook a vetting process before candidates were allowed to stand for local elections and then compelled to take oath of allegiance towards a country named as an occupier by the UN, which was the reason why pro-independence movement leaders were against participating in such electoral processes.
They pointed to historical electoral fraud and the bitter claims and counter claims between India and Pakistan which left little choice for the pro-independence Kashmiri leadership exercise their right to freedom of speech and freedom of movement.
It was decided that a follow up meeting would be organised to look at Kashmiri demands and to address the concerns of the Kashmiri Diaspora in the UK at a future date.
For further details please contact
Shakeel Mirza Spokesman JKLF UK Chapter.