Thursday, 1 March 2018

All Parties Parliamentary Group on Kashmir should represent sentiments of people. Dr Shabir Choudhry

South Asia Watch, London
Email:          Cell no: +447790942471    Date: 1 March 2018

All Parties Parliamentary Group on Kashmir should represent sentiments of people. Dr Shabir Choudhry

We people of forcibly divided Jammu and Kashmir need support of all parliamentarians, civil society and human rights activists. In this context, we expect All Parties Parliamentary Group on Kashmir to represent true sentiments of the suffering people; and not represent those who occupy and suppress us, said Dr Shabir Choudhry, Chairman South Asia Watch, London.

Dr Shabir Choudhry said, it is sad to note that the way APPG operates is not satisfactory at all; and it appears that they are promoting interests of one country, and not interests of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, who are suffering on both sides of the divide.

When I learnt that the APPG, for a change, wanted to investigate human rights abuses on the Pakistani side of the divide, I also wrote a letter to the Chairman of APPG and requested him to provide me an opportunity to present my case before the Group. I gave some details in the letter, as to how Pakistani authorities and secret agencies curtailed my fundamental rights. I wrote:  
I would like to appear before the APPG or have a meeting with you that we can discuss this matter further. Your report cannot be complete without hearing the man who is a British citizen and who, among the Kashmiri Diaspora is the prime victim of Pakistani agencies and state’.

My letter fell on deaf ears, and no one even cared to respond to the letter. General feeling among the nationalists of Jammu and Kashmir is that the APPG is dominated by pro Pakistan members. The APPG, especially some of its members appear to be ‘lobbyists’ of Islamabad; and instead of protecting and promoting interests of the suffering people they are keen to propagate views of Islamabad.

When I leant that President of Pakistani Administered Kashmir, was once again, visiting Britain; and he was invited by the APPG, I wrote another letter requesting the APPG Chairman to invite me as well that I can also discuss denial of fundamental rights in Gilgit Baltistan and so called Azad Kashmir. Like last time, he did not care to respond to my letter.

Sardar Masood Khan served Pakistan for many decades as a Pakistani diplomat. Islamabad was pleased with his services, so after his retirement, they rewarded him with another lucrative post. He was appointed President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. He is not loyal to people of Jammu and Kashmir; his loyalty is with those who appointed him. His loyalty is apparent in his speech made during his last visit to Britain in November 2017:

“A total of 1.4 million expatriate Kashmiris and Pakistanis were living in the United Kingdom, who should jointly raise the issue at international level by highlighting the Indian atrocities in occupied Kashmir.” 
Respected members of the APPG need to understand that Masood Khan’s mission is to advance the agenda of Islamabad. It is crystal clear that he is not interested in the plight of the suffering people. He cannot, and will not speak about fundamental rights of people of Gilgit Baltistan and so called Azad Kashmir.

If the APPG sincerely wants to find out about human rights abuses and problems of the people of Gilgit Baltistan and so called Azad Kashmir, then they need to invite citizens of Jammu and Kashmir who aspire for united and independent Jammu and Kashmir. If they want to please certain quarters, and satisfy their voters then they are already doing a good job. END

Dr Shabir Choudhry, Chairman, South Asia Watch, London.

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