Sunday, 29 March 2020

Bradford MP spearheads call for more support for Kashmiri communities

Naz Shah

BRADFORD: A group of more than 35 cross-party MPs, led by Bradford West MP Naz Shah, have written to a senior Pakistani figure calling for greater support for the diaspora community. The group has written to the Prime Minister of the Azad Jammu Kashmir (AJK) territory, Farooq Haider Khan, urging him to expand a support initiative for Kashmiri communities in Britain and elsewhere, who find themselves having to navigate its legal and justice system. The letter, signed by local MPs Philip Davies, Judith Cummins and Imran Hussain among others, says overseas Kashmiris contribute greatly to Azad Jammu Kashmir’s economy, “investing in land, property and business development”, but if they face difficulties they can “find themselves being vulnerable and indeed at times exploited, whilst pursuing legal avenues for remedies”. It praises progress in “rooting out corruption” but calls for UK-based contact points to be set up to help people through unfamiliar processes. Ms Shah also met with Mr Khan yesterday to discuss the issue in person. She said: “Whilst I am pleased to see the authorities in AJK, and particularly the Prime Minister himself, are making visible efforts in rooting out corruption and making legal processes more accessible for the diaspora community in the UK, it can often be a struggle to achieve justice and legal remedies. “The diaspora community are vulnerable in many ways to processes that are often opaque, confusing and difficult to navigate without support.” Many of Bradford’s Muslim families originate from the Azad Kashmir region of Pakistan and retain strong links with the area.

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