As we mark “Black Day” this October 27th, we remember the long-standing and unresolved dispute in Kashmir when in 1947 the people of Jammu and Kashmir were denied the right of self-determination. Sadly after 73 years, Kashmiris are still fighting for their rights. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir has highlighted the clear ongoing abuse of human rights violations, which have gone on for far too long. Kashmiri women and youth face some of the harshest repercussions from this conflict, from “half widows” to youth being blinded by the cruel and illegal use of pellet guns.
The Government maintains that Kashmir is a bilateral issue however, the UK is home to almost 1.5 million people of Indian origin, and almost 1.1 million people of Pakistani origin, of which 1 million hail from the Mirpur region in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir. For these diaspora communities, this is not a bilateral issue, it’s deeply personal, with family members and friends embroiled in the bitter dispute.
Labour will always adopt a “people first” approach which prioritises the people of Kashmir and supports the implementation of UN resolutions to break the vicious cycle of violence that has engulfed the region for far too long. We also recognise that the international community has a role to play to help broker peace in the region, including the UK.
For my constituents and the Kashmiri diaspora across the country, I can ensure you that I will continue to raise the plight of Kashmiris and encourage the Government to help end this futile and costly dispute. I regularly table Written Parliamentary Questions on this issue, most recently I asked what steps the Government has taken to implement UN resolutions. You can read all my Written Parliamentary Questions on this topic here.
As Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir, I will consistently raise this urgent matter and ensure that it receives the attention it deserves. We cannot turn our backs on Kashmir.