UK MPs’ statement on Kashmir a breakthrough, says Shah Mehmood Qureshi

LONDON: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that adoption of a joint statement on the Kashmir dispute by members of the British parliament is a big breakthrough for Pakistan.

“Today is a great success for Pakistan in which the voice of the oppressed people of Indian occupied Kashmir has also been heard,” he said while addressing a press conference at the Pakistan High Commission.

He said that participation of members of the cross-party Senate Foreign Relations Committee demonstrated that all political parties of Pakistan were on the same page with regard to the Kashmir dispute.

Resolution adopted by London conference participants condemns human rights violations and loss of innocent lives in India-held Kashmir

He said India tried its best to stop the holding of Kashmir solidarity conference in the British parliament, but did not succeed. He announced that a similar conference would also be held at the European Parliament in Brussels to highlight the plight of Kashmiri people.

Earlier, Mr Qureshi had addressed the Kashmir solidarity conference in the British parliament. The event was organised by Rehman Chishti, a member of the UK parliament and chairperson of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pakistan. Other guest speakers included Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan, chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, chairperson of the All Party Parliamentary Kashmir Group (APPKG) MP Debbie Abrahams, former prime minister of Norway Kjell Magne Bondevik and former prime ministers of AJK Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan and Barrister Sultan Mehmood Chaudhry.

The event was also attended by the members of Pakistan Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, British parliamentarians, mayors, lords and councillors, Kashmiri leaders, academics, members of civil organisations, media representatives, students, prominent members of the British-Pakistani community and High Commissioner of Pakistan to the UK Nafees Zakiria.

The Senate committee members spoke about the legality of the Kashmir dispute, while former Norwegian premier Bondevik, former Australian senator Ms Rhiannon and APPKG Chair Debbie Abrahams discussed the way forward, in the light of reports and resolutions by Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), APPKG and Organisation of Isla­mic Cooperation’s Independent Perma­nent Human Rights Commission (OIC-IPHRC).

OIC-IPHRC vice-chairperson Prof Dr Raihanah Binti Abdullah emphasised that the unabated gross human rights violations faced by the innocent Kashmiris made it one of the worst and prolonged human rights situations around the world.

She called upon the international community to take concrete political measures to that end and prevail upon the government of India to allow the visit of the Commission of Inquiry under the UN auspices to hold an independent investigation into human rights violations, including killings, rape and unmarked mass graves in India-held Kashmir.

AJK President Masood Khan highlighted the need for addressing the catastrophic situation that gripped held Kashmir. He called upon the global powers to take notice of the fast-changing dynamics and rapidly deteriorating situation in the held valley.

At the end of the Kashmir solidarity conference, a resolution was tabled by Lord Qurban which was adopted by the participants. It condemned the human rights violations and loss of innocent lives through the use of pellet guns and disproportionate use of power in held Kashmir. The resolution also called for implementation of the UNSC resolutions which called for Kashmiris’ right to self-determination under the UN-supervised plebiscite.

Disastrous consequences

Meanwhile, in a message on the occasion of Kashmir Solidarity Day on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Qureshi said that with Jammu and Kashmir being the core dispute between Pakistan and India, the dream of peace and prosperity of the people of this region would remain elusive until this dispute is resolved in accordance with the aspirations of its people.

“The world community should not forget its obligation towards the people of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir and understand that continued apathy to the sufferings of the Kashmiri people could have disastrous consequences not only for the region but potentially for the world at large,” he added.

The minister said India’s consistent denial of the right recognised by the UN Security Council resolutions was a telling example of impunity.