September 2003 News

Kashmir Is On Top Priority Of British Govt: Jack Straw

10 September 2003
News Network International

London: The British Foreign Minster Jack Straw has assured the APKFC delegation that Kashmir is on top priority of Prime Minister Tony Blair's government agenda. All atrocities should be condemned and should cease immediately. Britain is working closely with the United States, India and Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. He was discussing the Kashmir issue with a delegation of All Parties Kashmir Freedom Council (APKFC) led by Raja Najabat Hussain, Chairman of APKFC, the delegation included Ms Sabeeha Shahzad deputy chairperson and chair of the women wing. Councillor Mohammad Azam deputy secretary, Sardar Abdur Rehman Khan Secretary General, Salar Mumtaz Ahmed Chishty vice chair of APKFC were also present during the meeting.. The delegation was also accompanied by Dr Brian Iddon MP for Bolton met him on Tuesday at the foreign office in London. ALKFC which is a broad based, umbrella organization of Kashmiris living in British has been campaigning for a just resolution to the Kashmir issue. Jack Straw said Kashmir should be on the high priority list of British Government Both countries India and Pakistan have nuclear power and have been on the brink of war and it should be part of any discussion on Kashmir that takes place. Atrocities that take place in India held Kashmir everyday should cease immediately, amnesty international should be encouraged to observe and report on its finding on atrocities in Kashmir. Arms deals with Indian should be stopped immediately. Community relations in Dilain suffer due to the Kashmir issue. Jack Straw said the issue was of a high priority for him, Prime Minister Tony Blair and the British government said it is an issue that needs a solution. A solution would allow both nations to concentrate on building the social infrastructure of their nations. Commenting on the recent hawk jets deal with India he said we have a very transparent and open policy on arms deals, the hawk is a training jet. Jack Straw acknowledged that Britain's role in the partition of the India sub-continent was far from satisfactory, and it was a legacy left behind. He said that that is why he ensured that the issue as supported by the USA and has pressed the American administration to help push this higher on their agenda. Colin Powell and I have discussed this issue on a number of occasions and we are making progress towards bringing stability to the region. A united platform of all political, religious and social organizations. It is important that we work towards reducing tension on both sides, we have to have a dialogue between the nations. Jack Straw said while we continue to play an affective diplomatic role in easing tensions, and encouraging dialogue between the two nations, we have deliberately kept our involvement law profile, nonetheless, we are in constant contact with both India and Pakistan. We will continue to play whatever role we can to resolve this issue, Raja Najabat Hussain said. He said he is delighted that the foreign secretary has listened to the views of the Kashmiri community and assured us that he and the prime minister are and would continue to take positive actions to have a peaceful resolution to this long- standing issue. While welcoming the improvements in the relationship between India and Pakistan Raja Najabat Hussain said this improvement would not last, unless a permanent solution to the Kashmir dispute is found, this is an international issue and Britain has historical links with Kashmkir and as such Britain should lead on trying to find a peaceful solution. Kashmiris are a peace-loving nation, and want a peaceful solution to this issue. We believe Britain should play a leading role to involve the international community to resolve this issue. Mumtaz Chishti said the meetings with the foreign secretary was very fruitful, he listened to the delegation and made us aware of the current situation. Sardar Abdur Rehman Khan said Jack Straw welcomed the delegation and had an honest and open discussion, he said that the situation between Pakistan and India was improving and that it needs to improve further. He has agreed to meet us again in the near future. Councillor Mohammad Azam said. The affect of the current situation on British Kashmiris is devastating every time there is an attack on a Kashmiri, it affects us here in Britain. He continued this needs to stop immediately, we need the community to develop and help it to fight poverty and other social problems that exist both here in Britain and in the Indian Sub continent. Jack Straw said he was keen to see the Kashmir issue resolved quickly, he said efforts were being made to ease tensions and to improve relations between the two nuclear powers. Sabeeha Shahzad said. All talks that take place about Kashmir should involve the Kashmir and within that Kashmiri women should play an active role.-


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