Thursday Sep 23, 2021
LONDON: Britain must act on the world stage to help end human rights abuses by a “brutal occupying military force” in Kashmir and India’s High Commissioner to the UK must be barred from entering the UK Parliament in the same way entry was denied to Chinese envoy a few days ago, British Parliament heard in passionate speeches on Thursday.
Labour MP Tahir Ali, while speaking to the House of Commons, called for the Indian High Commissioner to the UK to be barred from the Parliament because of the military occupation of Kashmir.
The Birmingham Hall Green MP said action should be taken by the UK because the situation in Kashmir was “another example of the mess left by the British Government in 1947”.
He pointed to how Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams, a Kashmiri rights campaigner, had been deported from India in February this year, saying: “British parliamentarians, Indian politicians sympathetic to the Kashmiris, international observers, are all denied access to the Indian Occupied Kashmir.
“Earlier this month, China’s ambassador to the UK was prevented from entering the Parliament to attend a meeting with the All-Party Parliamentary Group on China. This initiative came about because of the protest by the Speaker and Lord Speaker in response to China imposing a travel ban on five MPs and two peers.”
He added: “So I ask the same justification is given and measures taken against the Indian High Commissioner, who is still allowed onto the Parliamentary estate. It seems like we are prepared to take action against China but not India.
“This is clearly double standards, and why I am demanding the Indian high commissioner is barred from the Parliamentary estate pending an end to the military occupation of Kashmir.”
Imran Hussain, Labour MP for Bradford East, said he expected the UK Government to suggest that disputes in the region should be resolved bilaterally and also stand up for the rights of oppressed people.
In a passionate speech that was critical of India and its actions in occupied Kashmir, Hussain said the UK and other countries needed to speak up and end their silence.
“For over 70 years, the sons and daughters of Kashmir have been subjected to persecution, oppression, and injustice in the most brutal manner. For over 70 years, they have been butchered, maimed, and killed at the hands of an occupying Indian military operating under the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. And for over 70 years, they have had their rights eroded, had their freedoms stripped away, and has their self-determination denied.”
Hussain argued that human rights and the right to self-determination are “international issues” before noting: “We raise these issues time and time again but Kashmiris are still subjected to appalling human rights abuses at the hands of a brutal occupying military force.
“If the UK and the rest of the international community continue to remain silent and continue to refuse to uphold UN resolutions, and the right-wing Modi government continues to actively ignore them and unilaterally quash the Kashmiri struggle, then what is the point of us talking here?”
He added: “This is a time that we must start demanding and forcing real action of our government and of the international community.”
Hussain concluded his speech by saying: “My final comments, as a proud British Kashmiri, will be this – and let me be absolutely crystal clear about this – the Kashmiris are not begging the international community, the Kashmiris do not bow before the international community, the Kashmiris around the world unite to demand our birthright to self-determination and to determine our own destiny.”
Debbie Abrahams, Chair of All-Parties Parliamentary Group on Kashmir, condemned human rights abuses in the Indian Occupied Kashmir. She lauded Pakistan for always facilitating their visits to Azad Kashmir but added that India never allowed such access. She pointed out that journalists are not allowed in IOJK.
Several MPs mentioned that Pakistan’s High Commissioner Moazzam Ahmad Khan had sent a dossier on human rights abuses in occupied Kashmir, which is quite eye-opening.