‘The UK did not support China. The UK Government longstanding position is that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting political solution on Kashmir.’

 

London: Following the UNSC meeting behind closed doors on 16 August on Kashmir, the reporting has been varied, leaving folks confused. How is it being reported that UK “supported China” behind closed doors?

Dame Karen Pierce, UK Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN, has not made any references to the secret meeting; the only irrelevant connection to be made is that Dame Karen tweeted her welcome to UNSC new Ambassadors Zhang Jun and Ambassador Nicolas de Rivière (France) on 1 August.

In the absence of any bona fide source this reporter asked the UK Foreign Office for a statement, the prompt reply came by email from Jason Raj, Senior Press Officer: “Please may I first confirm that reports of the UK supporting China at the UNSC are false. The UK did not support China. The UK Government longstanding position is that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting political solution on Kashmir.”

Also, Samuel Heath, Spokesperson and Head of Communications at the UK Mission to the United Nations, New York, reiterated to this reporter, “Our position in the Security Council was entirely consistent with the UK’s longstanding position—that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting political solution on Kashmir.”

Meanwhile, the Labour Party’s games continue to upset the Indian diaspora in UK profoundly. Seema Malhotra and Ruth Cadbury wrote to Dominic Raab, Foreign Secretary, asking if he “could clarify whether the UK Government believes there to be an international law dimension to the revocation of Article 370, and the UK Government position on this”, and urging the UK Government to work with both India and Pakistan to do all that it can to help de-escalate tensions within the region. They also quoted a UNSC resolution that calls for both sides to “refrain from making any statements and from doing or causing to be done or permitting any acts which might aggravate the situation.” (Q: Does this apply to Imran Khan’s tweets?)

The diaspora called their letter disgusting. Five organisations representing communities originally belonging to Jammu and Kashmir have written to Malhotra and Cadbury demanding a withdrawal of their concerns and apology to the communities that were excluded in their summation. Their letter is articulate, informed and explanatory regarding the fairness of the changes to Article 370; it is also historically and politically accurate. “The majority of these voices that you have spoken on behalf of, neither speak the Kashmiri language, nor follow any Kashmiri cultural practices including dances, art-forms or songs nor have any hagiographic linkage to being a Kashmiri. These strong vote lobbies in the UK have always projected a skewed narrative of Jammu Kashmir and confused the identity of natives of Jammu & Kashmir to the world by bracketing them all under the Kashmir propaganda, sponsored by the deep state of Pakistan.”

Naz Shah, another troublemaking Labour MP, wrote a ludicrous letter to Sheik Mohamed bin Zayed al Nahyan purporting to represent “thousands of British Kashmiris” in asking him to reconsider the Order of Zayed, the highest civil decoration of UAE, that the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi presented to Narendra Modi on Saturday. Predictably, this has had no effect on the strategic partnership between India and the UAE.

The Lancet, usually a medical and scientific journal, out of the blue, published an anti-India article, “Fear and uncertainty around Kashmir’s future”. This provoked a strong response from Kashmiri doctors in India, UK, US and New Zealand on behalf of Physicians of Global Kashmiri Pandit Diaspora. They wrote to the editor Richard Horton: “In its editorial, The Lancet presents itself more as a political analyst rather than an upright medical periodical, drawing conclusions that are both sweeping yet superficial and only loosely based on the history of the region… The Lancet stepping up on this issue is tantamount to challenging the sovereignty of the nation. Medical journals should stick to commenting on medical issues rather than extend their commentary to the internal political matters of democratic nations, especially matters with a complex history.”

Bob Blackman, Conservative MP, received an immediate acknowledgment from Number10 to his letter addressed to Boris Johnson supporting the revocation of Article 370: “I am writing on behalf of the Prime Minister to thank you for your letter of 9 August. Your correspondence is receiving attention.”

Regarding the chaotic events in Aldwych, where Pakistanis barricaded the exits to the High Commission of India, this reporter received the following response: “The Metropolitan Police Service had an appropriate number of Public Order officers on the ground and an experienced command team monitoring events. This is the same as we have for all public order events. A total of four arrests were made at the conclusion of the demonstration in Aldwych on Thursday, 15 August. The arrests were on suspicion of obstructing the police, being in possession of an offensive weapon and assault. Two males have been released with no further action; the others have been released under investigation.”

 

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