Islamabad: Sardar Masood Khan, President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, during his five day visit to the United Kingdom, met Members of Parliament at the House of Commons and attended a session of the House of Lords during which Lord Qurban Hussain raised a question on human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir.
The President also addressed students and faculty at the University of Lancaster, the sixth in the top ranking universities in the UK, on the topic Global Governance and World Peace. The address and Q and A lasted for two hours.
President Masood Khan spoke, as the chief guest, at a Kashmir Conference in London organised by the Pakistan and Kashmir Supreme Council; and attended and addressed a gathering to mark the Black Day on Kashmir organised by the Pakistan’s Consulate General in Manchester.
Shortly after arriving in London on November 18, he addressed a fundraiser hosted by a UK-based organization Quest for Education, which is supporting Kashmir Education Foundation’s schools in Basali (near Rawat); and Azad Kashmir.
While speaking to the media-persons on his return, the President said that November 21 was a good day for Kashmir in London. In the morning, Honourable Lilian Greenwood raised the issue in the House of Commons.
In the afternoon, Lord Qurban Hussain asked a question from the Foreign and Commonwealth (FCO) about the steps the Government of the UK was taking in regard to serious and massive human rights violations in the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), especially the use of pellet guns that had blinded scores of Kashmiris. This triggered many other questions from the Lords and the overwhelming majority of them demanded an investigation into the reported human rights violations. The FCO Minister said that the UK was seized of the matter and had encouraged India and Pakistan to work out a formula in accordance of the wishes of the Kashmir people.
When the FCO representative said that the UK had good relations with both India and Pakistan, one Lord pointed that human rights violations are human rights violations and there should be no politics on this subject. The FCO said that it would keep track of the human rights situation in IOK.
The same day, President Masood Khan briefed and updated the All Parties Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Kashmir, led by Honourable Chris Leslie, about the latest spree of killings, arbitrary arrests and detention, extrajudicial killings, custodial killings, enforced disappearances, vandalization of Kashmiri property, molestation of women, and sinister moves to change the demography of the occupied territory.
The President told the APPG that in Jammu too the situation was becoming alarming as the RSS militants, under the banner of Hindutva, were threatening Muslims with a pogrom and systematised killings. The one million Gujarat community was particularly at risk who were being told to leave or face dire consequences. In Jammu, village defence committees had been established in which hundreds of Hindutva militants were being recruited to target Muslims for which head money had been announced. He said the scenario of another massacre of Muslims was not hypothetical. In 1947, 237,000 Muslims were massacred by the RSS militants; and half a million were forced to flee to Pakistan and Azad Kashmir. That massacre is still an ugly scar on the history of South Asia. “The Butcher of Bosnia has been brought to justice but when will the butchers of Jammu be brought to justice? Or will they ever be brought to justice?” the President asked
The APPG said that it would work in a systematic manner not only to raise awareness about Kashmir but also to prepare ground for practical steps.
At the University of Lancaster, President Masood Khan said that global governance must be guided by the rule of law, not by the might of powerful nations. He said that the issue of Kashmir must be resolved in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people and as decided by the United Nations Security Council. He said that this issue should be resolved through dialogue and diplomacy, not through coercion. If it is not resolved, there was a huge risk of a catastrophic war because both India and Pakistan were nuclear armed states.
In meetings with the Pakistani and Kashmiri diaspora community, Sardar Masood Khan recognised and commended their contribution to the Kashmir cause and said unity in the ranks of Kashmiris and Pakistanis will go a long way in winning freedom for the people of IOK and securing the right to self-determination for Jammu and Kashmir. He said India was trying to sow seeds of division in the ranks of the people of Pakistan, Azad Kashmir and the diaspora community. He said: hold your ground, don’t be intimidated by India’s power or pelf, or be caught in its conspiracies. The President appealed to the youth to write to MPs, FCO and Prime Minister of the UK to apprise them of the appalling human right rights situation in IOK and hold India accountable for its crimes against humanity. He asked them to especially invest in the art and craft of communication to tell the world the truth about Kashmir and expose India’s false narratives.