UK urges India to allow human rights official to visit Jammu and Kashmir
The Theresa May government on Monday reiterated its position that the Shimla Agreement should be the basis for talks between India and Pakistan, but said it “encourages” both countries to allow the UN high commissioner for human rights to visit Jammu and Kashmir.
Responding to demands in the House of Lords that London condemn alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir in light of the June 14 report of the UN high commissioner for human rights, Foreign Office minister Tariq Ahmed recalled his last visit to India.
He told Qurban Hussain (Liberal Democrats), who initiated the brief debate: “I assure the noble Lord that we continue to raise the importance of the issues in Kashmir with the Indian Government. In one of my visits towards the end of last year, I raised the issue of Kashmir and the need for Pakistan and India to find a resolution to this long-standing issue”.
“Equally, with reference to the report and the importance of some of its findings, we encourage all states, including India and Pakistan, to respond positively to the request by the UN—in this case, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights—to a right to visit”.
Swraj Paul, who is a non-affiliated member, questioned the utility of raising the Jammu and Kashmir issue in the house: “My Lords, both India and Pakistan are very active members of the United Nations. Will the Government say what purpose it will serve to discuss this point here?”
Ahmed recalled his roots in India and Pakistan, while reiterating that the Jammu and Kashmir issue was a matter to be resolved by the two countries: “They are countries tied together by history, culture and families. Indeed, my parents herald from India and my wife’s parents herald from Pakistan. Communities and families can come together. Perhaps I am living proof of that”.
“On the specific issue of Kashmir, as we have said before—it has been a long-standing position of governments on both sides—the Shimla accords of 1972 act as the basis for bilateral discussions. I know the region of Kashmir”.
“It was termed a paradise on earth. We hope that both countries can find noble cause to restore that label of paradise on earth”, Ahmed added.
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- We were a preeminent economy, now we are a laughing stock: Rahul Gandhi targets govt over farm laws