South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

That the UK government does not acknowledge its responsibility in the creation of the Kashmir problem between Pakistan and India and fails to pressure India to let the Kashmiris determine their fate is well-known. But how ridiculous it has become was shown by the debate conducted in the British House of Commons on Saturday, on the subject of “Human Rights Abuses in the Subcontinent” after a motion by a ruling Conservative Party MP. The motion was prompted by the discovery in India of a mass grave of young men, members of the totally indigenous local resistance, disposed of in this way by the Indian occupation forces so as to hide some of their excesses. No less than 30 members spoke in the debate, calling on the government to play its role in the solution of the Kashmir issue. While replying on behalf of the government, Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Minister of State, Alistair Burt, told the House that any Kashmir solution had to have the consent of both India and Pakistan. During the debate, the participating members not only called for an end to the human rights violations, but also for the withdrawal of Indian troops and a repeal of the black laws allowing these abuses.

While British MPs went to the extent of asking their government to bring the international community into the effort, they did not directly call for the only known solution, which is the implementation of the UN resolutions on the subject, which not only have the backing of the international community, but also the acceptance by India, of a straightforward solution of the Kashmir issue, the holding of a UN-supervised plebiscite to determine the will of the Kashmiri people.

At this point, where the Kashmiri freedom struggle is at a crucial stage, it is essential that Pakistan does not fail to play its role, and change its stance of self-determination by the Kashmiri people as the basis of any solution. In particular, it must not accept any blandishments proffered by India, even when backed by American pressures, to betray the Kashmir cause.