Monday, 21 October 2019

Pro-Kashmir UK Pakistani MEP denied official visa to visit India

LONDON: A British Pakistani parliamentarian has been barred from official India visit over his support for the people of Indian occupied Kashmir. Amjad Bashir, who is a Conservative Member of the European Parliament, told this scribe on Tuesday that he has been effectively banned from a European Parliament delegation to India as Indian High Commission in London didn’t return his passport while other parliamentarians of the European Parliament flew out on Tuesday to visit India. Six members of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee flew out to India on Tuesday afternoon. Amjad Bashir, Conservative MEP for Yorkshire and The Humber, has asked Indian government to explain why he has not been issued visa. He believes that he has been denied permission to enter India because he is a supporter of self-determination for the Indian occupied people of Jammu and Kashmir. Amjad Bashir has been vocal at the European level in condemning India for committing mass human rights violations against the people of Kashmir through use of pellet guns and mass killings. Bashir told  his visa application was submitted promptly like other MEPs on the delegation but “I alone find myself still without the necessary piece of paper. Our political group has taken the matter up with the parliament’s authorities. The parliament’s president Antonio Tajani is looking into it, but time has run out and it looks like the delegation will be leaving without me. There has not been a word of official explanation from the Indian authorities, but through unofficial channels I have been told it is because of my stance on Kashmir, even though I was at pains to be courteous and constructive when I addressed the ambassador.”

Amjad Bashir said he will not be deterred from speaking up for Kashmiris, whether or not he gets visa. “If I have been banned because of sincerely-held beliefs that is Amjad Bashir 4regrettable and counter-productive. Surely the way to solve the long-running problem of Jammu and Kashmir is to have open dialogue and allow a diversity of views – not to ban dissenters from entering the country.” Amjad Bashir believes that Indian authorities may not have liked his challenge to India’s ambassador to the EU during a debate in Brussels over human rights abuses earlier this month. Amjad Bashir told Manjeev Singh Puri that India’s treatment of the Kashmiris was a stain on India’s face and India should stop behaving like a rogue state. He told the ambassador: “When we consider how far India has come since Independence and then Partition it is a thing of wonder. India has shaken the dust of colonial rule from her feet and is becoming a world power and a success story on a spectacular scale. However as one who wishes India well, I must warn about one unwelcome truth, one stain on this record of achievement. I speak, with sadness, of India’s record on Jammu and Kashmir and her treatment of its native people. I speak, with regret, of disregard for the widespread condemnation and the direct demands for change made by the United Nations. “Your Excellency, please hear this plea. The UN’s request to send observers to Jammu and Kashmir must be allowed. The immunity of security forces from prosecution for their misdeeds much be lifted. Ultimately, the people’s human rights including the right to self-determination must be honoured. If India is to fulfill her destiny as world-leading economy and a true beacon of democracy and rule of law, she cannot continue to subjugate Jammu and Kashmir.”

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