Sir Keir urged to protect MPs from vested interest lobbyists

Labour leader Keir Starmer
Labour leader Keir Starmer

Dr Shabir Choudhry, one of the prominent voices from the British-Asian community, wrote a letter to newly elected Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer saying that Pakistan continues to disobey UNSC resolutions on Kashmir.

“In view of this bitter fact, how relevant are the UN Resolutions, especially when both India and Pakistan have agreed in the Simla Agreement of 1972,” Dr Choudhry said in the letter.

Dr Chaudhry, who is also the President, Foreign Affairs Committee of United Kashmir People’s National Party (UKPNP), said in his letter: “Pakistan to date has not withdrawn their troops from the territories that do not belong to Pakistan, but continues to send ‘Jihadi warriors’ to commit acts of violence and terrorism on the other side of the divide.”

Recently, Sir Keir in his letter to the Muslim Council of Britain stated, “Our position on Kashmir has not changed, we support and recognise previous UN resolutions on the right of Kashmir people but maintain that if we are to find a lasting settlement to end this conflict, that can only be achieved if India and Pakistan working together, with the people of Kashmir.”

Reacting to the statement by Sir Keir, the PoK activist reminded him about the UN Security Resolution of August 13, 1948.

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Dr Shabir Chaudhry

It stated: A. (1) ‘As the presence of troops of Pakistan in the territory of the State of Jammu and Kashmir constitutes a material change in the situation since it was represented by the Government of Pakistan before the Security Council, the Government of Pakistan agrees to withdraw its troops from that State. (2) The Government of Pakistan will use its best endeavour to secure the withdrawal from the State of Jammu and Kashmir of tribesmen and Pakistan nationals not normally resident therein who have entered the State for the purpose of fighting.’

Dr Chaudhry said Pakistan continues to occupy a large part of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.

“In view of this bitter fact, how relevant are the UN Resolutions, especially when both India and Pakistan have agreed in the Simla Agreement of 1972, that they will resolve the dispute bilaterally,” he wrote in the letter.

“I hope the Labour Party under your leadership will play its role in empowering people of Jammu and Kashmir, and in this regard, the Pakistani withdrawal is prerequisite. Only after that, appropriate arrangements could be made where people of Jammu and Kashmir can determine the future status of Jammu and Kashmir,” said Dr Chaudhry in the letter.

“Also, I hope that the Labour Party, under your leadership, will ensure that Members of Parliament do not succumb to pressure of those who promote extremism, intolerance and religious hatred; and will discharge their duties impartially by taking views of all communities into consideration,” he added.

Dr Chaudhry, who has written many books on Jammu and Kashmir and its history said: “It is sad to note that some Members of Parliament while dealing with Jammu and Kashmir dispute, behave in a manner as if they were spokespersons of Pakistan. This attitude not only damages the standing of the Labour Party but also harms the Jammu and Kashmir dispute, as they try to make it a religious dispute”.

“I’m committed to working closely with Labour Friends of India to rebuild trust with the community,” said Sir Keir in a Zoom meeting with LFI. “We must not allow issues of the sub-continent to divide communities here. Any constitutional issues in India are a matter for the Indian Parliament and Kashmir is a bilateral issue for India and Pakistan to resolve peacefully. Labour is an internationalist Party and stands for the defence of human rights everywhere.”

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