LORD RAMI RANGER: ‘People in Pakistan like Ahmediyas, like Sikhs, like Christians, Hindus are persecuted, forcibly converted, Shia mosques are attacked… I would like to ask who is supplying arms to terrorists in Kashmir, who is training them, who is encouraging them to create disruption in paradise?’ … A special report by Ashis Ray
Lord Rami Ranger turned the tables on Lord Qurban Hussain in a Questions & Statements session in the House of Lords, which was conceived to embarrass India, by counter-attacking against Pakistan on 17 May.
He made a powerful intervention by saying Hussain knows ‘two Sikh traders in Peshawar were murdered last week because of their religion’. He added: ‘People in Pakistan like Ahmediyas, like Sikhs, like Christians, Hindus are persecuted, forcibly converted, Shia mosques are attacked… I would like to ask who is supplying arms to terrorists in Kashmir, who is training them, who is encouraging them to create disruption in paradise?’
Tackling this, Lord Tariq Ahmed, minister of state in the foreign office, said: ‘I am acutely aware of the challenges minority communities face in Pakistan and we again raise these in a constructive way…. It’s important for both countries to move forward mutually together and agree that there is a bright future for both countries…’
Earlier, responding to a question by Hussain, Ahmed of the Conservative party stated the British government is monitoring the trial of the Indian Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik. He disclosed: We are monitoring the trial very closely. We do note he has been charged under Indian law… and therefore we cannot intervene in the independent judicial process of India directly. However, in all our engagements we urge all countries to always respect their own international obligations regarding the treatment of any detainees.’
The matter put to him by Lord Qurban Hussain, a Liberal Democrat peer, was Malik is on trial this week. He claimed the charges against him are ‘fake’. He alleged Kashmiris suspect the Indian government wants to get rid of him. ‘His life is in real danger,’ he asserted. He asked: ‘Will the government use their good offices to protect Mr Yasin Malik’s life?’
Ahmed also maintained in a balancing act in course of the proceedings: ‘We recognise there are human rights concerns in both Indian administered Kashmir and Pakistan administered Kashmir. The United Kingdom government encourages all states to ensure their domestic laws are in line with international standards. Indeed any allegation of human rights is deeply concerning and must be investigated thoroughly, properly and transparently….We raise concerns with the governments of both India and Pakistan.’
Hussain had asked what assessment the British government had made ‘of the human rights situation in Indian-administered Kashmir’.
Regarding the United Nations’ role on the Kashmir dispute, Ahmed stressed: ‘The best way to find a solution is to do so together.’