LONDON: Indian government has tried to cast aspersions on the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Kashmir, which organised a conference at the British parliament last week where human rights abuses of Kashmiris by Indian occupation forces were discussed and a demand was made that India must abide by international norms, ending brutalities against Kashmiris.
A meeting of the APPG on Kashmir last week received a crucial update on the situation in the occupied Jammu and Kashmir from the president of Azad Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan.
The Indian High Commission was sent invitations to attend the conference and present its viewpoint but no representative attended the meeting.
Pakistan’s High Commissioner to the UK Syed Ibne Abbas attended the meeting, which was attended by more than two dozen MPs.
The APPG on Kashmir, chaired by Labour MP Chris Leslie, has more than a dozen MPs from Labour and Conservative parties of the UK.
Indian-origin, first turban-wearing Sikh MP Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi was also part of the parliamentary group.
Through an article in the Hindustan Times, the Indian government made allegations that members of the diaspora were not allowed to attend the meeting but stressed that the informal cross-party groups have no official status within the UK Parliament but are governed by rules set by the House.
The article published in the publication showed that India has panicked after failing to conceal the truth about grave human rights violations by its occupation security forces.
In a desperate effort to avoid criticism by the international community on its high handedness in occupied Kashmir, the publication attempted to cast aspersions on the APPG regarding Kashmir because India knows that the group is a cross-party influential parliamentary faction of the British lawmakers, who are currently producing a report on the situation in occupied Kashmir.
An MP linked with the group told The News that the APPG on Kashmir has recorded several testimonies from the stakeholders, including the Pakistan High Commission, London and President AJ&K Sardar Masood Khan. The report, once completed, will be presented to the British Parliament, the European Union and the United Nations (UN).
The Hindustan Times article, quoting the Indian government, said that the parliamentary group didn’t invite organisations to represent Indian perspective, but on the other, it said that the APPG on Kashmir invited Mehbooba Mufti, Chief Minister of Indian Occupied Kashmir to the hearing, but she did not attend.
Despite its best efforts, the newspaper could not get a favourable statement from any British MP. As a last resort, it had to rely on the statement of MP Bob Blackman, who is known for his venom against Pakistan.
Bob Blackman routinely visits India to attend events held by the BJP and other Hindutva groups and he openly praises actions of Indian Prime Minister Nardnera Modi.
The APPG-linked MP said that relying on Bob Blackman shows that India has badly failed to suppress truth about Kashmir despite its big market mantra and clout.
“It also shows how India is lacking credibility when it comes to the illegal occupation of Kashmir and the gross human rights abuses being committed by its security forces,” said the MP.
When the Hindutsan Times asked shadow Foreign Secretary of the UK’s Labour Party, she showed the real picture of Kashmir.
MP Emily Thornberry was quoted as saying: “Our current position on Kashmir comes from a concern for human rights. We hear a kaleidoscope of stories, from the extremes to the less extreme; the human rights of Kashmiris continue to bubble up. I have spoken to the (Indian) high commissioner about this.
“Kashmiris want to live in peace. That should be our starting point. I know there are people in India who say these stories are exaggerated or indeed downright lies. And if that’s right, it does seem to me that India has nothing to fear from allowing human rights monitors into Kashmir in order to be able to support that it isn’t true.”
As a part of its efforts to highlight the plight of the Kashmiri people, the High Commission for Pakistan in London has asked for a cross-party parliamentary delegation of the UK to be sent to both sides of Kashmir to assess the human right situation. While Pakistan always welcomes the human rights monitors on its side, India never allows them to visit the occupied Kashmir.