Tuesday, 25 June 2024


Given the global ‘lockdowns’ throughout this and last year, the Self-Determinist pressure group Nations without States decided to petition the Government to provoke a debate on Kashmir, given that the region has been under a (politically driven) lockdown since August 2019.

An initial Parliamentary petition was abandoned, due to Covid concerns, but a second one was raised by NwS Executive member, Upkar Singh Rai, in the latter part of last year. We were delighted therefore when the signatories of the petition asking for that debate, were advised by the Parliamentary Petition Committee that MPs had agreed to one! asking for a debate, were contacted by the Parliamentary Petition Committee. They advised that there would indeed now be a debate on the issue on Parliament TV on the 13th January!

The Debate

Sponsored by Sarah Owen MP (Luton North), a number of MPs expressed their concern over what is happening in Kashmir. Topically, they reminded viewers that the region had been ‘lock downed’ for political reasons by the Indian Government for 17 months straight, on far stringent terms than ours.

Most agreed that the human rights of residents’ are being breached and a handful mentioned that this also includes their ‘Right to Self-Determination’.

The one discordant note, and unlike the other Labour speakers, was that of Barry Gardiner MP (Brent North) who focused on Azad Kashmir (the smaller area under Pakistant control) and criticised Pakistani human rights record and political mistreatment of citizens. It was disappointing however that he did not also talk about Indian Kashmir (the main reason for the debate). One suspects this is a reflection of the new Leader’s policy of courting Indian voters by reducing their traditional criticism.

Most telling of all were the remarks of Paul Bristow MP (Peterborough) who pointed out that the Government supports self-determination for Falklands and Gibraltar citizens as it is enshrined within the UN Charter. Thus, “what is good for the Falklands and Gibraltar, is surely good for the people of Kashmir!”. We agree and, as our petition says, there must be a UN supervised plebicite (referendum) on Kashmir, as promised since 1948!

You can watch the proceedings here: https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/dbffb1d7-6d27-40e3-b145-67553f04c89b (between 16.30 and 17.30).

Although a debate had been achieved you can still sign the petition (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/551582)

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