The British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), commonly known as the Foreign Office, has sent a comprehensive response to an urgent letter written to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in relation to the occupation of Jammu Kashmir, recent escalations in human rights abuses and the ongoing sufferings of 20 million inhabitants of the Occupied State.
President of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF, UK Chapter) Syed Tahseen Gilani had written to PM Johnson in September, highlighting barbaric human rights abuses being committed in Indian-occupied part of the Occupied State, and dangerously increasing use of oppressive measures by Indian and Pakistani governments, including unlawful imprisonments of peaceful political and human rights activists
On the issue of human rights abuses, including unlawful detentions and imprisonments of prominent political leaders and activists of Jammu Kashmir by India and Pakistan, the Foreign Office official wrote:
“We recognise that there are human rights concerns in both India-administered-Kashmir and Pakistan-administered-Kashmir. We encourage all states to ensure domestic laws are in line with international standards. Any allegation of human rights abuse is deeply concerning and must be investigated thoroughly, promptly and transparently and independently.”
The letter by JKLF UK President Syed Tahseen Gilani had also highlighted the continuous use of pellet guns and human shields by Indian Army in Jammu Kashmir — actions which are blatant violations of human rights conventions and disgrace to the progress humanity has made. The Foreign Office official responded:
“We are also concerned at reports of use of pellet guns by Indian security forces. We expect all states to uphold their international human rights obligations. Any allegations of human rights violations or abuses is concerning and there must be a prompt and thorough, fully independent and transparent investigation.”
On the issue of alarming increase in severity of oppressive measures employed by India in Jammu Kashmir since August 2019, including communication blockade and detentions of political leadership, the Foreign Office official commented:
“..the continued use of detentions and restrictions on communications in India-administered Kashmir remain a concern. We are clear that individual rights should be fully respected and that there should be constructive dialogue with affected communities.”
The letter from the Foreign Office has sought to reassure JKLF of British government’s concern over human rights abuses in Jammu Kashmir, and the progress on the issue in general. The response states:
“We are in regular contact with the Governments of India and Pakistan. The Prime Minister has underlined to both Prime Minister Modi of India and Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan the importance of resolving issues through dialogue. The Foreign Secretary has spoken with the Indian Minister of External Affairs to express the UK’s concerns around the situation in India-administered Kashmir and call for calm. I have also discussed the situation with Ministers and senior representatives of the Indian and Pakistani Governments on a number of occasions, most recently with my Indian counterpart on 28 July and the Pakistani Foreign Secretary 8 September. We regularly discuss concerns with both the Indian High Commissioner and the Pakistani High Commissioner. We continue to follow the situation closely.”
Commenting on the response from the UK Foreign Office, JKLF UK Spokesperson Shakeel Jaral welcomed the UK government’s concern and continuous contact with Indian and Pakistani authorities. However, he urged the international community to make meaningful efforts towards fulfillment of the promise it made to the people of Jammu Kashmir 73 years ago, and help achieve a lasting resolution of the conflict as per the wishes of the 20 million inhabitants of Jammu Kashmir.
The letter from the UK Foreign Office is attached below in full.