Labour leadership facing backlash over its Kashmir position

Mirza Saaib Beg, Kashmiri Lawyer Candidate for Masters in Public Policy at Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.

Lord Ahmed outraged at Kier Starmers repositioning on Kashmir conflict.

Lord Qurban Hussain outraged at Kier Starmers repositioning on Kashmir conflict.

Jess Phillips MP: I have long worked with the Kashmiri community to promote human rights and self determination for the people of Kashmir, and will be meeting with the leader of the Labour Party to discuss these issues next week.

Sarah Owen MP:I will be at this meeting with Keir, joining
@Debbie_abrahams and others to discuss Kashmir – Hugely important human rights issues affecting those not just in Kashmir but also people in the UK who are worried about loved ones.
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Debbie Abrahams MP: I am pleased to say that I will be meeting with Keir and Labour MPs next week via video conference to discuss Kashmir. I will report back following this meeting.
Raja Muhammad Farooq Haider Khan Prime Minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir :Labour leader @Keir_Starmer ’s recent statement on Kashmir is a reflection of odious hypocrisy coz it leaves out historical facts,UNSC Resolutions, int’l laws n ethicality. UK based Pakistanis/Kashmiris didnt support&vote @UKLabour
for volte-face on Kashmir to please Indian lobby.
Imran Hussain MP: For my entire adult life, I have fought fiercely for the realisation of the sons and daughters of Kashmir’s right to self-determination, as mandated by decades old UN Security Council Resolutions, and my record in Parliament is clear for all to see. I will continue this fight until Kashmiris are free to choose and shape their own destiny, and their 70 year wait to do so is finally brought to an end.
I will never cease to condemn the barbaric and well-documented human rights abuses, persecution and injustices that are faced on a daily basis by Kashmiris living under a brutal military occupation. We have a duty to speak out against such abuses towards other human beings, wherever in the world they take place, and I will continue my call for those who subject others to torture, extra-judicial killing, rape, illegal detention, and draconian blockades to be held accountable for their crimes.
I will be meeting with the Leader of the Labour Party to discuss these issues next week alongside other colleagues.
Councillor Ahmad Bostan: If we don’t fight for the people of Kashmir, we stand for nothing. Kashmir is not a bilateral issue, it is an international calamity which requires @UKLabour to stand up against the heinous Human Rights violations, demand justice and the right of self-determination. #FreeKashmir
Councillor Waseem Zaffar: I joined the The Labour Party to campaign for equality, fairness and social justice here in the UK and across the world.The human rights of a child in the UK are the human rights of a child in Kashmir.We need to campaign for a peaceful resolution where human rights abuses are called out and challenged and the right of self determination granted to the people of Kashmir, as promised by the international community many many years ago.
Cllr Mohammed Aikhlaq MBE: Kashmir is a disputed territory and the people of Kashmir should be given the right of self -determination in accordance with UN resolution.Accordance with article 370 Jammu and Kashmir is not a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan ,The international community needs to take responsibility.
Muzzammil Ayyub Thakur: @Keir_Starmer Your reply to the UK Hindu Council has shown that you are unfamiliar with the #Kashmir issue, but also that u are out of touch with the realities of India, Narendra #Modi & the facade of democracy that is portrayed by the ruling radical right wing @BJP4India.
Syed Tahseen Gilani:Recent statements from Labour leadership are hugely disappointing. This has to change. Jammu Kashmir conflict is now firmly the most important consideration for voters of Jammu Kashmir origin in Britain. @UKLabour ,@Keir_Starmer, @Debbie_abrahams, #LabourParty #Kashmir, @BBCNews
Councillor Majid Mahmood: My view is still, that we need the the reinstatement of Article 370 and for the United Nations resolutions to be adopted inc resolution 47 which insisted that a plebiscite should be held in Kashmir so that the people of Kashmir, and only the people of Kashmir can self determine their future. #FreeKashmir
Zafar Khan: By terming Kashmir constitutional matter of India, a bilateral Indo-Pak dispute,Keir Starmer, has shaken traditionally strong bond between his Party and a million plus British Kashmiri community
@Keir_Starmer, @lisanandy, @DebbieAbrahams, @SarahOwen_, @rach_hopkins, @JklfUk, @STGILANI
JKLF MEDIA CELL UK: Unfortunately our Kashmiri MP’s who attend Kashmir events, and give lipservice speeches regarding Kashmir are nowhere to be seen. @NazShahBfd, @Imran_HussainMP, @ShabanaMahmood, @YasinForBedford
Raja Nawaz Khan:Kashmir is an international dispute recognised by #UN not a bilateral issue between India & Pakistan i urge If you are a Labour member (or voter) who is concerned about today developments, I strongly suggest you write to @Keir_Starmer
politely calling for his review stand on J&K.
Open Letter to Keir Starmer:
Dear Keir,

We, the undersigned, strongly oppose your recent repositioning of the Labour Party’s stance on the issue of the Kashmir conflict. This repositioning goes against fundamental values core to the integrity of the party and severely undermines the trust of voters and members who support and champion these values.

While you claim that the Labour Party is an internationalist party, which stands for the defence of human rights everywhere, your focus on building “business ties” with India’s far-right government while maintaining silence on human rights violations in Kashmir represents an openly hypocritical stance. Human rights abuses in Kashmir are widespread and egregious. There are numerous of cases of torture, rape, arbitrary detentions, enforced disappearances, pellet blinding, unmarked mass graves and violence against civilians which are well-documented by international organisations including the United Nations, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International calling for investigations within the region. The threat of the current crisis is so severe that Genocide Watch has issued a genocide alert for Indian-administered Kashmir.

Human rights violations in Kashmir do not take place in a vacuum. At the root of these appalling violations lies a historical denial of the right of self-determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. We call on the Labour Party to demonstrate a firm commitment to restoring basic human rights and supporting the realisation of the right of self-determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The revocation of Article 370 and Article 35A on the 5th August 2019 can also not be ignored by the Labour Party. This unilateral action, taken without the concern, consent or active participation of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, is unconstitutional, undemocratic and violates existing international law. Since 5th August 2019, Kashmir has faced a communications blackout, the world’s longest running in any democracy. Children as young as the age of 9 have been detained, in contravention of Hague Conventions, and numerous Kashmiri journalists, political leaders, as well as lawyers, have also been detained. Chair of the Bar Council of England & Wales, Richard Atkins QC, and Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England & Wales, Schona Jolly QC, wrote to India’s Prime Minister in November 2019 expressing serious concern over the effective suspension of Habeus Corpus rights.

The Kashmir conflict is neither a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, nor it is an internal matter of India. It presents an extremely grave threat to national, regional and global security, considering India and Pakistan’s record of inter-state wars and hostile engagement as nuclear powers. It is a conflict which has robbed millions of Kashmiris of their basic human rights and continues to this day to inflict untold suffering. The conflict continues to be of substantial concern to British Kashmiri diaspora living in the UK.

We call on the Labour Party to:

1. Stand against the repositioning of its stance on Kashmir, which abdicates the party’s internationalist responsibilities and places Labour on the wrong side of history.

2. Affirm its commitment to the restoration of basic human rights in Jammu and Kashmir.

3. Support the realisation of the right of self-determination for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

4. Work with the UK government towards effective multilateral engagement with representatives from India, Pakistan and both sides of Jammu & Kashmir for justice, peace and an ultimate resolution of the conflict.

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