India-Pakistan Current Affairs - 2020

British parliament to debate ‘rights violation’ in Kashmir

British parliament’s House of Commons has agreed to hold a special debate on the state of human rights in Kashmir.

British MP David Ward informed the backbench business committee that “ongoing Kashmir dispute a threat to regional and global peace” and that the new Indian government has been “quite aggressive in terms of its stance towards Kashmir” which was “opening up a whole new area of uncertainty”.

Ward also informed that he had the support of 40 MPs who would like Westminster to hold a debate on the human rights violations in Kashmir.

Though a formal date for the debate has not been decided as  yet, Britain’s decision to agree for a debate on Kashmir hasn’t been well received by Friends of India and Southeast Asian think-tanks. They said “Why should Kashmir be discussed in the parliament when Britain has always been of the view that Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan?”

Ward informed that “Kashmir has been a constant source of misery over many years to many people. In the region of 500,000 to 600,000 Indian Army troops are in the area on a permanent basis. It is an area of tension and some 500,000 people have died there in the past 60 or so years”.
Ward who represents Bradford East in the British parliament also cited what he called the “uncertainty about article 370”.

Ward expressed concerns that the members of the new India government are talking about the abrogation of Article 370 which grants special status to Jammu & Kashmir. He sought a debate on a motion from a petition that has been signed by 40 MPs, 10 MEPs and also 50,000 members of the public.

The petition says that “the ongoing Kashmir dispute is a threat to regional and global peace; further that the dispute is causing insecurity, instability and human rights violations; and further that the state of Jammu & Kashmir should be given the right to self-determination”.

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‘Vacate Office in New Delhi’: India asks UNMOGIP, the UN Observer on J&K

Indian Government has asked United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to vacate its Government accommodations in New Delhi.

Reacting to this, Pakistan said that such steps would not change the legal status of the Kashmir dispute and that it never accepted Kashmir’s accession to India. It said that as long as the Kashmir dispute is not resolved, the UN Security Council mandate remains.

In response to Pakistan’s statements, India said that it believes in moving forward than looking behind and discussing decade old issues. India clarified that the move on UNMOGIP was consistent with efforts to rationalize the UN body’s presence in India. It said that the measure was in line with India’s long-standing view that UNMOGIP has outlived its relevance.

India believes that the UN body had little significance after India and Pakistan inked the Shimla pact in 1972 on resolving the Kashmir dispute bilaterally. However, UN held that UN Security Council resolution mandates the body to monitor and observe the border and report violations of a cease-fire agreement between India and Pakistan.

UNMOGIP in India insisted that it will continue its operations in India in line with its original mandate. The body is now searching for new office to rent.

India had provided UNMOGIP a plush accommodation in New Delhi free of charge 40 years ago. The UN body also has offices in Islamabad and Muzaffarabad, the main city in the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir.

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