London: Tehreek e Kashmir UK organized an online conference of British parliamentarians for the first time in Britain’s History on the current situation and gross Human Rights Violations amidst COVID-19 in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
His Excellency Sardar Masood Khan President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir attended the conference as chief guest. While the Guest Speakers included, Paul Bristow MP (Conservative) Vice-Chair All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir, Andrew Gwynne MP Chairman Labour Friends of Kashmir, Alison Thewliss MP (SNP), Jess Phillips MP( Labour), James Daly MP (Conservative) Vice-Chair APPG on Kashmir, Kate Hollern MP (Labour), Marco Longhi MP Vice-Chair APPG on Kashmir, Steve Baker MP (Conservative) , Richard Burgon MP (Labour), Sara Britcliffe MP(Conservative), Jonathan Gullis MP(Conservative), Antony Higginbotham MP (Conservative), Rachel Hopkins MP (Labour), Tracy Brabin MP(Labour), Ghulam Muhammad Safi Convener Tehreek e Hurriyat Jammu and Kashmir, Altaf Ahmed Bhat President Jammu Kashmir Salvation Movement, Fahim Kayani President Tehreek-e-Kashmir UK & Ishfaq Hussain the conference moderator.
The Chief Guest of the conference President State of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Sardar Masood Khan during his address said that Indian is massacring Kashmiris and by changing Domicile Law India wants to change the demographics of Muslim Majority Region into Hindu majority, which is against International Law. India has closed all democratic avenues for Kashmiris to raise voice for the right to self-determination.That is why the local youth of Kashmir have resorted to armed struggle to end the Indian military occupation.
President Masood Khan further said that Bilateral talks have failed and the world must intervene now. A peaceful solution must be found or the clouds of Nuclear war will continue to hover over South Asia.
Modi’s behaviour has proved that he can take any step for Akhand Baharat with his extremist ideology.
“The world must immediately devise a strategy to resolve the Kashmir issue through UN resolutions and save the region from war,” he added
Andrew Gwynne MP Chairman Labour Friends of Kashmir while terming Kashmir Issue a trilateral said that India and Pakistan have to talk to one another but there can be no decisions about Kashmir with Out the involvement of the people of Kashmir and the Kashmiri diaspora around the world. He assured that we will seek to use our position in the House of Commons and House of Lords to ensure that those voices are heard in the British parliamentary system as well.
While stressing about putting an end to human rights violations in Kashmir he said that we shall have to use our role on the international level to put an end to the gross human rights violations, but also have to look for the future of people of Kashmir, most basic fundamental human right to decide by whom they are governed and how they are governed.
He reiterated that there is room for International Leadership and whether or not that’s Britain that takes that role or the United Nations or some other third party.
Paul Bristow MP vice-chair of All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir said that we need to do the soft lobbying with our own within our parties with our Partners to try and change attitudes of our frontbenchers and ministers on Kashmir issue. While we need hard lobbying certain through debate through questions Etc.
We have to make this a political issue and to do that we need to change the mindset within the government the labour front bench and all. We need to do that by using the sizable Kashmiri diaspora and make sure that their vocal on this issue they are which is a good thing but we need to make sure that that continues because we’ve all heard of the violence, political oppression and repressive laws in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Paul Bristow further said that we will discuss Kashmir Issue in Parliament with shreds of evidence, we all have seen images, and videos of suppression and brutality, and evidence will make our argument stronger.
Alison Thewliss MP Scottish National Party while supporting Kashmiris Right to Self Determination said that I will support Kashmir cause and I assure Mr President Masood Khan that we will assist and support in every way possible. She added that she has continuing concerns raised by her constituents who have family and friends and Kashmir, and they will keep Kashmir issue in their agenda.
Richard Burgon MP said that Indian govt revoked article 370 and 35A, and Indian Occupied Kashmir was under lockdown for 7 months, without internet now another 2 months lockdown due to COVID-19. While grave human rights violations and suppression of Kashmiris continued in this period. He added that we support Justice and self-determination as per United Nations Resolutions for the Kashmir people given our historic involvement in that area of the world.
Kate Hollern MP said that due to the lockdown and Internet cut off amidst COVID-19 outbreak Doctors in Kashmir couldn’t have searched and download for the latest information about the pandemic, while students were barred from using online resources for studies.
While stressing on UN intervention she said that as the Human Rights are being violated, UN must step in to resolve the issue.
Steve Baker MP while agreeing to Andrew said that we might need to say to the UN. What are you for? If not to pursue the resolutions that you’ve asked bring peace and fundamental rights around the world and in particular in Kashmir.
There is ample evidence of the persecution of Muslims in India. It is outrageous and it should be called out as outrageous by governments around the world. BJP lead current Indian Govt’s policy of religious nationalism and persecuting Muslims and that must stop it must be called out and I thinking I’m calling it out and appealing to the UN to uphold the rights for which it was established, and resolution of Kashmir issue as per UN resolutions.
Jess Phillips MP agreed with Andrew and Steve Baker and added that we should be able to push for some action from our government in this regard and whilst it’s vitally important that we keep on hearing about what is going on on the ground.
James Daly MP said that we have heard and seen evidence of Human Rights violations in IOK, also the repressive laws such as PSA which enables security forces to detain anybody without charge for 2 years and repeat it once the period is near to end. We must work through the United Nations to ensure that as per United Nations resolutions Kashmiris decide for their future.
Jonathan Gullis MP while showing solidarity and defending Kashmiris right to self-determination as per UN resolutions said that, the lockdown that we have felt in the UK whilst having to sacrifice a small amount of our freedom cannot even come close to that of the people of Jammu Kashmir who are facing human rights violations. He also urged that the British government uses the voice within the United Nations and the participant MPs to raise this issue loudly and clearly.
Rachel Hopkins MP said that despite being a new MP she has decided to represent her constituents who have friends and family in Kashmir, and are concerned about their well being amidst COVID-19 and lockdown in Kashmir.”I will continue to pursue Kashmir issue with others collectively and until we can see greater changes and the absolute right of the Kashmiri people for their self-determination in the future” she added.
Antony Higginbotham MP said this conference has shown us is that there is incredible cross-party consensus on this issue in the UK. I do believe that the UK has a very powerful voice on the world stage. And as UK parliamentarians, we have a very clear role to make sure that the UK is using that to maximum effect because of the situation on the ground in Kashmir that is very awful as described by Mr President.
Marco Longhi MP said that the time has come for us to offer more than just solidarity and I think in what we need to do is Is to speak up as loud as we can within our own Parliament and make sure that that very question that I believe my colleague Steve Baker mentioned earlier in this presentation, which is what is the point of the UN if the UN cannot intervene in these terrible circumstances.
Tracy Brabin MP said COVID has been used as a bit of a smokescreen to continue the human rights abuses in Kashmir. We were discussing the labour party’s position and unequivocally supporting the right for Kashmiri self-determination. Suppression and persecution of Muslims in India and Kashmir are heartbreaking. We need leadership to bring this issue on the table for a practical solution.
Ghulam Muhammad Safi Convener Tehreek e Hurriyat Jammu and Kashmir said that Kashmir is under twin lockdown, and Kashmiris demand freedom as per United Nations Resolutions and for peace and stability in South Asia it is of vital importance that Kashmir issue is resolved as per the aspirations and UN resolutions.
Sara Britcliffe MP said that I along with Jim and Mike visited Kashmir and the line of control this year and we saw firsthand the atrocities and we were able to go on the ground and speak to families that are affected.
Altaf Ahmed Bhat, President Jammu Kashmir Salvation Movement said that Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir is under lockdown since 1989.Another lockdown started after Fascist Modi repealed Article 370 and 35A, and then lockdown due to the COVID-19. Kashmiris are being massacred under the guise of COVID-19.While Modi himself is involved in changing the Social and Political Structure of Kashmir by introducing lawless laws and giving domicile status to Hindus.
President JKSM Bhat further said that Kashmir is not a bilateral issue, it must be resolved as per the aspirations of Kashmiris and UN resolutions.
President TeK Fahim Kayani Welcomed and thanked everyone for their participation and said that The world is fighting against coronavirus but India is killing innocent Kashmiris. Now India is committing constitutional terrorism alongside state terrorism by amending the domicile law and abrogating article 370 and 35A, In this situation Tehreek e Kashmir UK decided that Indian efforts to change the demography of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir should not go unnoticed while India using the “cover of the coronavirus”.