Wednesday, 28 May 2008

A letter to MEPs

A letter to MEPs
Dr Shabir Choudhry

16 May 2007
Members of European Parliament
Brussels, Belgium.

Dear Sir/Madam

Re: EU Kashmir Report

1. I appreciate you have very busy schedule and a lot to read in order to carry out your duties as a Member of European Parliament. Despite this I wish to take some of your precious time because the issue I want to bring to your attention is very important, and I believe also close to your heart as well.

2. EU Kashmir Report, generally known as Emma Nicholson Report is going to be before you for your approval. Some of you have already seen it and have contributed to it before it got to this stage. I must congratulate its author and all of your colleagues who have worked hard to make this report very balanced and comprehensive.

3. I understand, unlike parliaments in your countries of origin, politics and style of working in EU is not antagonist; and you seek cooperation and try to reach consensus that the final product is seen as EU policy or EU document.

4. This EU Kashmir Report, as you know has already been approved by EU Foreign Affairs Committee by huge majority of sixty votes in favour and one against it.

5. You would also know that the report, as expected, generated a big controversy and promoted discussion and debate within the EU, which helped to refine and improve certain aspects of the report. However during this process governments with imperial designs on Kashmir also activated their network to influence and intimidate MEPs and all those who supported the report.

6. I note that anti report lobby organised and managed by Pakistani officials and diplomats has once again become very active. In this regard a high level Pakistani delegation also visited Europe last week. Senior Pakistani diplomats in England also mustered pro Pakistan Kashmiris, not pro Kashmir Kashmiris, and have issued directions how to oppose this report and what to say to their MEPs.

7. While speaking to pro Pakistan Kashmiris in Pakistani High Commission in London on 15th May 2007, senior Pakistani diplomats said: ‘This is the final phase of our efforts to negate this report which is far from facts and ground realities….we have less than a week to convince the parliamentarians that the report is against the aspirations of Kashmiri people and denies the facts’.

8. Pakistani diplomats are entitled to their opinion, but views expressed in no way reflect true aspirations of the Kashmiri people. Of course Pakistan and Pakistani officials always use name of Kashmir and Kashmiri people to advance interest of Pakistan, which is not always in the best interest of the Kashmiri people. Pakistan has annexed certain parts of Jammu and Kashmir and even gifted nearly 2000 sq miles to China, have deprived people of basic human rights, and still claim to be champion of rights of Kashmiri people.

9. Pakistan and India have forcibly divided the State of Jammu and Kashmir, ensured that the families and individuals remain divided, and this situation remained for decades. People of Jammu and Kashmir suffered human rights abuse on both sides of the LOC with varying degree and this situation still continues. No matter what India and Pakistan claim people of Jammu and Kashmir are suffering on both sides, and no government has mandate to represent views of the people of Jammu and Kashmir?

10. While voting on the report, MEPs are requested to keep interest of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in mind. The report doesn’t have to be pro India or Pro Pakistan or serve interests of these two countries who have in their own way subjugated and oppressed people of State of Jammu and Kashmir and prolonged their misery.

11. In my view criteria for honourable MEPs is simple, however they should keep the following things in mind:

• If the report is pro people, vote for it;

• If the report promotes democracy and fundamental rights, vote for it;

• If the report helps to alleviate suffering and miseries of the people, vote for it;

• If the report supports civil society and opposes forces of communalism and hatred, vote for it;

• If the report supports and promotes dialogue and rule of law, vote for it;

• If the report supports peoples right of self determination, vote for it;

• If the report empowers people, supports and promotes pluralistic society, economic and political stability, vote for it; and

• If the report supports the peace process, and encourages peace and harmony in South Asia, vote for it even if that means annoying a few individuals who are promoting interest of Pakistani government, or their personal interest.

12. I hope that as a person who believes in liberal democracy and fundamental rights for all, you will vote for this report. Also I hope that with your efforts and active support we will be able to alleviate suffering and miseries of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, leading them to get their unfettered right of self determination.

13. I look forward to hearing from you, and will welcome any queries, which you might have with regard to this.

Yours faithfully

Dr Shabir Choudhry
Chairman, Diplomatic Committee Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front
Director, Institute of Kashmir Affairs.

Telephone: 0044 7941 295327

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