Brighton, September 26 (KMS): Organisation of Kashmir Coalition (OKC) and UK-Pakistani and Kashmiri Councillors Forum organised an interactive dialogue at the Annual Labour Party Conference in Brighton, UK.

The event was chaired by Councillor Liaqat Ali, MBE while Professor Nazir Ahmed Shawl, Executive Member OKC and Chair of South Asia Centre For Peace and Human Rights (SACFPHR) introduced the event on the grave situation in occupied Kashmir (IOK) titled “Kashmir: The Lynchpin of Peace – Role of Labour in Addressing the Crisis”. The key note address was given by the Shadow Labour Minister Naaz Shah, MP.

The event was attended by members of the Labour Party, members of Parliament and members of Borough Councils.

In his opening remarks, Professor Nazir Ahmed Shawl contextualised the recent developments unleashed by the Hindu supremacist leadership in IOK. He said that after the repeal of special status of Kashmir by the Indian government on August 05, a lockdown has been imposed and all rights and fundamental freedoms have been jeopardized.

He thanked the Labour Party leadership for taking a principled stance and hoped that the leadership would fulfill its responsibility by having a full debate at the plenary of the conference with a resolution as promised at the last year’s conference.

The Shadow Minister Naaz Shah, MP, in her address remarked that the RSS Government had a fascist outlook and as such the siege in the valley was part of their genocidal campaign. She continued by comparing the situation in Kashmir to the siege of Srebrenica and Bosnia: “Its aim is ethnic cleansing. Genocide is not a bilateral issue. It is not a Muslim issue. It is an issue for the entire world”.

Ms Shah opined that Labour ought to stand in support and solidarity with the Kashmiris. She assured the participants that it will be taken up at the main plenary and a debate on Kashmir will also be taken up in the Parliament. She commented that as a daughter of Kashmir she would fulfill her obligations for the people of the state.

Councillor Liaqat Ali thanked the key note speaker and all the participants for debating the crisis situation in Kashmir. He hoped that the Kashmir dispute to be included in the election manifesto of the Labour Party. At the end a unanimous Declaration has been adopted.

The Brighton Declaration:

This event held at the Annual Labour Party Conference highlights the extra ordinary situation caused by India’s unconstitutional and unlawful action in the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K);

Kashmiris are claimed in the name of Hindutva style democracy and further colonised in the name of development. The lockdown is affecting 8 million people on the 52nd day. It has created a human rights crisis of catastrophic proportions;

It is not only creating human suffering but also posing a great threat to international peace and security;

It violates India’s own constitution and the UN resolutions 122,123 and 126 passed in 1957; and

The consequences of the abrogation of articles 370 and 35A are horrendous; It is aimed to demolish Kashmir identity and bring a demographic change.

It is hoped that the Labour Leadership shall play a proactive role as voice of the British people to invoke the preventive diplomacy of UN to save humanity in Kashmir and create an environment for peaceful resolution.

The current blockade must end with utter commitment for the promotion and protection of all Kashmiris human rights;

The complete withdrawal of Indian military presence from Kashmiri towns and villages;

All restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly and right of association should be lifted;

A fact finding international commission should visit the imprisoned Kashmir to take stock of existential realities; and

International community should facilitate a multilateral engagement among all stakeholders; Kashmiris being the most affected party.

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