After describing the situation in Jammu and Kashmir as ‘serious’ in August, Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday expressed ‘profound concern’ when asked in the House of Commons about allegations of human rights violations there.
Several British MPs have voters with origins and links in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, many of whom participated in recent protests in London against the structural changes made by the Indian government in August.
Steve Baker, Conservative MP from Wycombe, asked Johnson during Prime Minister’s Questions: “Thousands of British people in Wycombe have family and friends on one or both sides of the Line of Control in Kashmir”.
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“With so many serious allegations of human rights abuses being made, does the government accept that this is not merely some foreign policy issue to be dealt with by others but that it is an issue of the most immediate and profound concern in Wycombe and in towns across the UK”.
Johnson responded: “He is absolutely right. This matter is very much not just to him and his constituents but the welfare of communities in Kashmir is of profound concern to the UK government”.
“He also knows that that it is the long-standing position of the UK government that the crisis in Kashmir is fundamentally a matter for India and Pakistan to resolve and is not alas since we were there at the very beginning of the crisis he will understand for long-standing reasons it is not for us as the UK to prescribe a solution in that dispute”, he added.
Johnson had described the situation as ‘serious’ during a phone conversation with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in August.
British authorities imposed restrictions on a Kashmir-related demonstration on Sunday following pressure from New Delhi and the Indian community that raised concerns over the potential for another round of violence after the violence outside the Indian high commission on August 15 and September 3.