British back benchers please voters at the cost of Kashmir

Brigadier (Retired) Manjit Singh

The United Kingdom is at its imperial best once again, the mere whiff of brownie points that some of its Members of Parliament (MP’s) can earn from the Pakistanis in their constituency has propelled the entire British Parliament into a debate on alleged Human Rights violation in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir. The motion was moved by a back bencher conservative MP, Steve Baker. Baker and the other four MP who have supported his notice belong to constituencies that are known to have a large Pakistani voter bases.

Baker’s objective of forcing the British Government to take up the matter of alleged human rights violations with the Indian Government ended up in a damp squib with the government refusing to play ball. “No matter how well intentioned, any attempt by the UK or other third party to mediate or prescribe solutions (to Kashmir issue) would hinder progress,” said Britain’s Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Alistair Burt, while replying to the debate. Only 30 members of the 640-strong House of Commons participated in the discussion with the House business committee disallowing a vote on the motion. Obviously, a lot many of the hon’ble members did not wish to annoy their Indian voters or be seen as party to a motion against the much stronger India, especially so, a debate which was based on fallacies and was divorced from reality.

The best option would be to ignore the entire episode as a pathetic attempt by an insecure politician of a redundant power to boost his sagging political standing. However, a point which has been raised needs to be addressed on merit. The British government has taken cognizance of reports of human right violation during the riots of 2010 as reported by Amnesty International and some other such organizations. On the other hand, it has not mentioned the peaceful summer that the valley has witnessed in 2011 with an influx of about six lakh tourists; it has not commented on the attempts made by vested interests to hijack this peaceful environment and the able manner with which State government and security forces warded off these evil intentions; it has not referred to the free, fair and well represented Panchayat elections held earlier this year to devolve democratic power to the grassroots. In fact the list of achievements in Jammu and Kashmir is too long to be repeated over here. The foregoing instances are adequate to underline the partisan attitude of the British leadership.

Since Britain cannot get over its proclivity to interfere in the affairs of other Nations, it would be best for it to concentrate its energies in areas which are in need of international support – areas like Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and the Northern Areas which are wilting under the colonial yolk of the Pakistani government. Surely Britain would be aware of the fact that the recent sham of an election held in POK the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has, in accordance with tradition, established its stranglehold on the region. Historically, it is always the ruling party, or a Pakistan Army sponsored party which forms a government in POK. Either way, it is the Army which has a predominant say in the affairs of the suppressed and beleaguered region. The PPP has installed its senior member, Choudhary Abdul Majeed, as the Prime Minister. Sardar Muhammad Yaqub Khan, an erstwhile member of the All Party Hurriyat Conference, joined the PPP a little before the assembly elections and has been rewarded for his defection by being appointed the President of POK. Thus the stranglehold is once again complete. While driving home the degree of the sham perpetrated during the aforementioned elections, Altaf Hussain, the London based Chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) said, “Everyone in Pakistan is aware of the fraud in the recent Azad Kashmir elections. The current government is authoritarian and not a democratic government”. The British government and other bleeding heart MP’s of the small Island Nation would be well advised to interact with Altaf Hussain in London itself and find out what suppression in the Sub-Continent actually denotes.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRPC) has opined that people in POK have suffered gross violations of their rights, from being continuously ‘watched and monitored’ by Pakistan’s ISI to denial of basic fundamental rights including access to judiciary and fair trial. As per HRPC “People feel that their political rights have been infringed under the guise of the Maintenance of Public Order Ordinance, which prohibits activities that are prejudicial to public safety”. It is also well known that the Pakistan Army and ISI have reduced POK into a breeding ground of international terror, weapons and other war like stores are freely available over there and the younger generation, instead of being motivated to concentrate on education, is being indoctrinated to hold the gun in the name of Jihad. In this manner the complete civilization of the region is being destroyed.

The Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir has been successful in containing terror unleashed upon it by inimical forces operating from POK. This has been made possible by the sustained and relentless efforts of the very security forces whom some in Britain were attempting to vilify. These forces were helped in no small measure by the people themselves who were fed up by the atrocities committed by terrorists and who overcame their fear to assist the security forces in eliminating this scourge in their midst. The resultant peace and stable internal security situation led to a perceptible surge in economic activity; tourism flourished despite attempts by terrorists to derail the same, trade and commerce blossomed, education received a boost and development, though little slow , did show signs of picking up.

About manjitsingh 9 Articles
Brigadier (Retired) Manjit Singh is a Jammu based expert in geo - political and security affairs specialising in J&K, Pakistan and China. His qualifications include Msc, MBA and Post Graduate Diplomas in Human Resource Management, Computer Application, Strategic Management and Personnel & Financial Management. During his service, he attained extensive exposure in Jammu and Kashmir in operational, media and human rights fields. Presently, he is associated with IGNOU in J&K for delivering lectures on Human Rights, Journalism and Disaster Management.

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