February 2019 News

Kashmir Conference In UK Parliament: Pakistan Cries Human Rights But Shuts Doors On Indian Media

5 February 2019
India Today


London: Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi flew to London and participated in the International Conference on Kashmir held inside the British Parliament. Rehman Chisti, born in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and currently, chairperson of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pakistan (APPG-Pakistan), was the main organiser of International Conference on Kashmir. Interestingly, the Indian media were denied entry to the event that organisers had called 'open to all'. Qureshi used the platform to talk about the human rights issues in Kashmir but interestingly a conference to talk about issues of justice and peace kept its gates shut for the Indian media. While this report was being filed, Pakistan foreign minister came out with this tweet but did not say a word on why the Indian media were kept out. 'In Indian-occupied Jammu & Kashmir, humanity is bleeding, No doctrine of state security or sovereignty can justify such heinous acts of violence. Pakistan has and will continue to stand by the people of Kashmir. You are not alone in your just struggle for self-determination,' Qureshi wrote. In Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir, humanity is bleeding, No doctrine of state security or sovereignty can justify such heinous acts of violence. Pakistan has and will continue to stand by the people of Kashmir. You are not alone in your just struggle for self determination. Shah Mahmood Qureshi (@SMQureshiPTI) February 5, 2019 Earlier, India had 'very strongly' objected to such a conference being held inside the premises of British Parliament saying, 'We hope that they will understand our objections to the proposed conference and take appropriate action.' Calling Britain a, 'friendly country and strategic partner' India said they 'expected' that Britain will understand Delhi's concerns. People from the Indian diaspora too staged a protest against the event outside Parliament 'requesting the UK government to not allow activities like these inside Parliament premises'. The British government responded to India's objection saying Pakistan's foreign minister's visit was a private one and not official. A Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) source said, 'The UK's longstanding position is that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting political resolution to the situation in Kashmir, taking into account the Kashmiri people's wishes. Members of Parliament are independent of the government; it is for individual members to decide who they meet and for what purpose.' Speaking at the event, Qureshi said, 'I have been empowered to be with you both in my personal capacity as a democrat and as an ardent supporter of Kashmir's right to self-determination.' He further said, 'We are here to express solidarity and make the cause of all those who love and value freedom.' Talking about the success of the two-hour event to the Pakistani journalists inside the Pakistan High Commission, Qureshi thanked all MP's from Conservatives, Labour and Liberals present in the gathering but particularly thanked, the shadow foreign secretary of the Labour Party, Emily Thornberry and MP Debbie Abrahams. MPs and peers from all the three major parties attended the meet including Baroness Sayeeda Warsi who served in former PM David Cameron's cabinet and was also once Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The first turban-clad Sikh MP of Indian origin Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi was also seen going inside the room. Qureshi is also expected to attend an exhibition in London commemorating the Kashmir Day on February 5. Every year Pakistan observes February 5 as 'a day of solidarity', showing support to the people of Indian-administered Kashmir and now it has been declared a holiday there. A rally has been organised in London to commemorate the day that might face some resistance. India has maintained that any resolution to issue between the two neighbouring countries can only come through bilateral talks. The Simla Agreement signed between the two countries in 1972 also mentions that both India and Pakistan will hold direct talks for a peaceful settlement of all disputes and problems and there would not be any intermediary or third party.

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