September 17, 2015

Moral victory: Motion tabled in UK parliament on PoK human rights violations

In what could be considered as a moral victory for India, a motion has been tabled in the United Kingdom Parliament urging Pakistan to withdraw to the pre-October 1947 border without any delay or pre-conditions.

The Early Day Motion (EDM) 393 sponsored by Bob Blackman of the Conservative Party condemned all systematic human rights violations committed in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

“That this House condemns all systematic human rights violations committed in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir; calls on the Government to demand from the Pakistani government a guarantee that state-sponsored cross-border terrorism will cease immediately; further calls on the Government to encourage the Pakistani government to withdraw to the pre-October 1947 border without any delay or pre-conditions; and calls on the Government to note that it is the 25th anniversary year of the attack by cross-border Islamic militants on the population of Jammu and Kashmir to commit acts of genocide.”The motion sponsored by Bob Blackman had nine signatories. They include Jeremy Corbyn (Labour Party), Chris Law (Scottish National Party), Rachael Maskell (Labour Party), Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party), Virendra Sharma (Labour Party), Paula Sherriff (Labour Party), David Simpson (Democratic Unionist Party) and Christopher Stephens (Scottish Nationalist Party).

Motion on displacement of Kashmiri Pandits:
In the month of January 2015 the first ever motion to commemorate the displacement of Kashmiri Pandits from Jammu and Kashmir 25 years ago was tabled in the British Parliament.

The motion sponsored once again by Bob Blackman read, "This House commemorates with deep sadness the 25th anniversary of the attack in January 1990 by cross-border Islamic militants on the population of Jammu and Kashmir; expresses its condolences to the families and friends of all those who were killed, raped and injured in this massacre.”

Further it was also condemned the desecration of the holiest sites in Jammu and Kashmir and expressed its concern that the Kashmiris who fled to save life and limb have still not secured justice for the atrocities committed against them.

The Bob Blackman debate:

Bob Blackman who has sponsored these motions has debated the issue of Kashmir extensively in favour of India. In one of the debates on the anniversary of 9/11, he had said, “every day in Kashmir, along the line of control, state-sponsored terrorists from Pakistan infiltrate Jammu and Kashmir and cause atrocities.

We must mark that, and say that the Pakistani Government clearly cannot be trusted to do what they should and stop that terrorism against the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Underground tunnels have recently been discovered, which promote the infiltration, and there has clearly been assistance from the Pakistani forces that occupy part of Kashmir.”

He further stated that, “the United Kingdom had the role of partitioning India and Pakistan, and the partition that was created was never going to last.

The concept of East Pakistan and West Pakistan as one country separated by India was never going to stand the test of time. Clearly, it did not, and Bangladesh came from that. Equally, the Maharaja decided to cede the territory to India. The Pakistani Government and forces refused to accept that decision and invaded.

It was at the behest of the Maharaja that the Indian army moved in to try to wrest control back, according to the original purpose. That was in 1947. Therefore, we can say that the continued conflict of the past 70 years is terrible, but that it is clear where responsibility for it lies. We must place it fairly and squarely with the Pakistanis and their successive Governments.”

The plight of Hindu Pandits:

Blackman further debated that, “ the Hindu Pandits were forced out in a process of ethnic cleansing. The reports that I hear give a figure of 700,000 of them still living in refugee camps having been forced out. It would be ridiculous to reward those who engaged in ethnic cleansing.

There are humanitarian matters in the conflict that need to be concluded. The victims are the Pandits who were forced out of their homes and the women who were forced at the point of a gun to convert from Hinduism to Islam, and were left to suffer.”

“It is now some 25 years since the worst atrocities in the Kashmir valley, when Hindus were driven out by the Islamic fundamentalists.

We should be on the side of the people who suffered and make sure that the people who are in exile have the right to return to the homes that they occupied for centuries.”


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