I’ve been gravely alarmed by the Indian Government’s actions in Kashmir and so was glad to discuss the ongoing political crisis with Mohammad Nafees Zakaria, the High Commissioner for Pakistan, last week.
The Indian Government stripped Kashmir of its autonomy on 5 August and, since then, a communications blackout and security lockdown have been imposed on the region. Sporadic protests have taken place amid reports of serious human rights violations.
I’ve written to the Indian High Commissioner and met with the Pakistani High Commissioner to discuss the way forward and I’ve called on the UK Government and international community to use all diplomatic and economic measures to:
- Ensure that democracy is respected and that the Kashmiri people are at the heart of any constitutional reform of the region.
- Ensure that United Nations Security Council resolutions on Kashmir are respected, including UNSCR 47 which refers to the people of Jammu and Kashmir having the right to self-determination.
- Respect the 1972 Simla Agreement which refers to the future of Jammu and Kashmir being determined by peaceful means.
- Ensure that the rule of law is upheld and human rights are protected by lifting the telecommunications black out and allowing independent, international observers to the region.
- Support the assistance of a United Nations Special Envoy for Kashmir in facilitating a peaceful and sustainable future for Kashmir and all of its peoples.
Kashmir’s autonomy should be restored, Article 370 should be reinstated, and the rights of the Kashmiri people should be respected. The Indian Government must end the curfew and communications black out, which are depriving the Kashmiri people of their basic freedoms, and there also needs to be an urgent investigation into the use of detentions and cluster bombs.
I will continue to work with others to press for a peaceful resolution to the crisis and for the rights of the Kashmiri people to be respected.