LONDON: Sir Keir Starmer has reaffirmed his support for the United Nations resolutions on Kashmir which demand a plebiscite in the Indian occupied Kashmir — after weeks of rebellion from within Labour party in the wake of a statement made by the Labour leader stating that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan.
Labour MP Afzal Khan had written to Sir Keir Starmer demanding support for Kashmiris and reminding him that the occupied Kashmir is not a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan only. The letter was written in the aftermath of Starmer’s statement to the Hindu Forum of Britain where he claimed “Kashmir is a bilateral issue for India and Pakistan to resolve peacefully.”
In response, the newly appointed Labour leader reiterated his support for the rights of the oppressed Kashmiri people. He said: “Our position on Kashmir has not changed, we support and recognise previous UN resolutions on the rights of Kashmiri people.”
The Labour leader said that for a lasting settlement on the issue of occupied Kashmir, Pakistan and India should work together and worth the people of occupied Kashmir to end the ongoing conflict which has claimed lives of more than 100,000 people of Kashmir, killed by the occupation army.
At the end of the letter, Starmer says: “We will continue to work hard to reaffirm our commitment to stand up for the rights of Kashmiri people in the most constructive and effective manner.”
The MP for Manchester Gorton had reminded the Labour leader that despite trying for 72 years, both of the countries have been unable to resolve the Kashmir issue due to India’s violation of the UN resolutions on the occupied Kashmir. “We cannot forget that India and Pakistan have gone to war 3 times and China and India have also been at war. The real danger of a war between three nuclear-armed states cannot be ruled out until the issue of Kashmir is resolved,” the MP had written in the strongly worded letter.
Khan further stated: “In the spirit of community engagement, May I suggest you also reach out to the British Kashmiri and Pakistani communities. I would be more than happy to facilitate such a meeting.”
Mentioning how the Labour party has a long history of protecting Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities’ rights, MP Khan reminded Starmer:
“There is a long way to go — and we’ll only get there if all voices are heard.”
The recommendations of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Kashmir which demanded a complete halt to the human rights violations in Kashmir by India, as well as the implementation of the United Nations Resolutions, was also mentioned in the letter. MP Khan argued that it was the duty of the Labour Party to uphold human rights both nationally and internationally.
The promise of support from Labour leader Starmer comes at a time when India is involved in severe ceasefire violations in Kashmir and has unleashed the Indian army on the Kashmiri population, forcing them to live in lockdown without internet and telephone facilities.
The Labour Party has faced rebellion from thousands of workers and officials who opposed his statement that Kashmir issue is for India and Pakistan only. Hundreds of mosques also wrote to him threatening that they will withdraw support for Labour in next elections if the Labour Party leader did not withdraw his false comments, which negated history and legacy of Britain.