AJK premier assails Labour Party chief for pro-India remarks

Updated 04 May, 2020


Keir Starmer termed Kashmir a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. — APP/File
Keir Starmer termed Kashmir a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan. — APP/File

MUZAFFARABAD: Taking strong exception to a recent pro-India statement of Sir Keir Starmer, the new leader of UK’s Labour Party, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider made it clear that the internationally acknowledged issue of Kashmir could not be brushed aside to please any group, community or nation.

“The recent statement of Labour Party leader Keir Starmer on Kashmir after meeting an Indian lobby is a reflection of odious hypocrisy because it leaves out historical facts, UN Security Council Resolutions, international laws and ethicality,” Mr Haider told reporters on Sunday.

After a meeting with Labour Friends of India on April 30, Sir Starmer had said: “We must not allow issues of the subcontinent to divide communities here [UK]. 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.”

He had also said that a Labour government under his leadership would be determined to build even stronger business links with India and to co-operate on the global stage on issues such as climate change.

“I look forward to meeting the Indian High Commissioner in due course to open a renewed dialogue between the Labour Party and the people of India,” Mr Starmer had said.

Keir Starmer termed Kashmir a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan

In his response to it, the AJK premier made it clear that neither did the Kashmiris have any personal enmity with the people of India nor did they ever want any other country or nation to develop and practice the same.

However, since 1947 the Kashmiris had been at war with the tyrannical regimes in New Delhi for ruthlessly trying to suppress their legitimate demand for right to self-determination by employing brute force and other nefarious methods, he said.

“And when leaders of a country that brands itself as mother of parliamentary democracy tend to turn a blind eye towards suppression of democratic values and rights in occupied Kashmir just to strengthen their illegal occupation of the territory, it is appalling,” he added.

The AJK premier reminded Mr Starmer that the unresolved Kashmir issue was the legacy of the British rule in the subcontinent and thus Britain, as a state, was under a moral obligation to get it settled in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the inhabitants of the disputed territory for a durable peace across the globe, including Britain.

He said: “Numerous UN Security Council resolutions, where India itself took the issue, bear testimony to the fact that Kashmir is an internationally acknowledged issue of self-determination of an entire nation rather than a bilateral dispute between India and Pakistan.”

Mr Haider further pointed out that India had committed naked aggression on the people of occupied Kashmir by first revoking the special status of their motherland on Aug 5 last year and then putting the entire territory under lockdown and communication blackout.

“The volte-face on Kashmir to please Indian lobby is deplorable and unacceptable and should therefore be done away with without more ado,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2020