Imran Khan talks Kashmir issue with UK’s Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn reiterated his party’s human rights-focused stand on Jammu and Kashmir during a conversation with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday, the day he raised the issue at the United Nations general assembly.
Labour passed a resolution on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir during its recent annual conference, which was rejected by India’s official spokesman in New Delhi on the ground that its position was “uninformed and unfounded”.
Corbyn said after speaking to Khan: “On a call with Pakistan PM Imran Khan I listened to his concerns about the situation in Kashmir, including the ongoing curfew”.
“The UN has a vital role in ensuring dialogue between India and Pakistan. Any political resolution must uphold the human rights of the Kashmiri people”, he added.
Besides the resolution passed at the conference, shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry told party members in her speech: “How can it be that we a have a Commonwealth member, India, revoking 70 years of constitutional protections for the Kashmiri people?”
Thornberry has previously expressed the party’s concerns over alleged violation of human rights in the state, calling upon New Delhi to allow international monitors into the region.
The spokesman’s statement in New Delhi that Labour’s resolution was an attempt to pander to vote-bank interests was reflected in a statement by the Labour Friends of India, a lobby group within the party, after the conference.
It said: “It is understandable that some Labour members of parliament with to make specific representations on behalf of their constituents but we do not believe that it is the place of the British Labour party to prescribe a solution”.
“We continue to believe that the future governance of Kashmir is an issue to be resolved peacefully and respectfully, recognising the sovereign rights of the states of both India and Pakistan in that process”, it added.
London’s longstanding official position on Jammu and Kashmir, followed by Labour and Conservative governments, is that it can neither prescribe a solution nor act as a mediator, and that it is for the governments of India and Pakistan to find a lasting resolution taking into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people.
The Conservative party’s forthcoming annual conference is dominated by Brexit but Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the situation in Jammu and Kashmir as “serious” during a recent conversation with Khan.