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Peace efforts must be redoubled for sake of people of Kashmir

September 14, 2008 7:15 PM
Liz Lynne at the Kashmir fringe event, with Paul Rowan MP, Qassim Afzal of the Liberal Democrat Friends of Kashmir, and Pakistani High Commissioner to London Wajid Shamsul Hasan.

Liz Lynne at the Kashmir fringe event, with Paul Rowan MP, Qassim Afzal of the Liberal Democrat Friends of Kashmir, and Pakistani High Commissioner to London Wajid Shamsul Hasan.

LibDem MEP Liz Lynne has said all sides in Kashmir must concentrate their

efforts on peace if a way out of the current unrest is to be found. The

Euro-MP opened a discussion on the troubled region at her party's

conference in Bournemouth, where panellists included the Pakistani High

Commissioner to London Wajid Shamsul Hasan.

Relative calm has prevailed in Kashmir in recent days, after a nine-day

curfew was lifted last week. This was imposed after some of the largest

rallies against Indian rule since the 1989 revolt. At least 40 protestors

have been killed, including Sheikh Abdul Aziz, a senior Hurriyat leader.

Liz Lynne MEP is a member of the European Parliament's Delegation for

Relations with the Countries of South Asia and the Human Rights

Subcommittee. She has campaigned for many years on the rights of the

Kashmiri people and co-authored a recent European Parliamentary resolution

on the need to investigate allegations of mass graves near the Line of

Control.

Speaking after the discussion, entitled 'Kashmir in the 21st Century', Liz

said:

"The rights of the Kashmiri people must be put first and Kashmiri people

need to be at the heart of the decision-making process if we are to see

the end of 60 years of conflict.

"If local people are allowed to decide their own destiny, and any decision

made is respected, they will be free to build a prosperous future for

themselves. This right to self-determination is one enshrined in the

Charter of the United Nations and something I have repeatedly called for

in the European Parliament, along with the appointment of an EU

facilitator to help this happen.

"This summer's violence in Kashmir makes it all the more urgent that we do

not sit back and let this conflict continue indefinitely, although we must

give credit to the Indian and Pakistani for their recent positive talks.

"India for its part must also improve its dire human rights record,

highlighted by the recent discovery of nearly a thousand unmarked graves

near the Line of Control, which have been linked to the thousands of

'Disappeared' in Indian-administered Kashmir in previous years.

"As mentioned in the European Parliamentary resolution I co-wrote, a full

investigation into these graves, and into the attacks on Parvez Imroz who

gathered evidence on them, must be conducted if the Indian authorities are

to regain any credibility in Kashmir and progress towards peace can be

made."

ENDS

Liz Lynne at the Kashmir fringe event, with Paul Rowan MP, Qassim Afzal of the Liberal Democrat Friends of Kashmir, and Pakistani High Commissioner to London Wajid Shamsul Hasan.