On Thursday 15th September, Shabana Mahmood, Member of Parliament for Birmingham Ladywood spoke on the issue of human rights abuses in the Indian subcontinent, with particular reference to the ongoing situation in Kashmir.
Shabana, who is of Kashmiri origin, spoke passionately about her connections with Kashmir, both on a personal level and on behalf of the many constituents in Birmingham Ladywood who are of Kashmiri origin. In her speech, Shabana raised concerns that whilst Kashmir is caught up in one of the most dangerous conflicts in the world, it does not receive the attention that it deserves and that previous efforts, most notably by the UN, have failed in allowing the Kashmiri people to determine their own future. Shabana added her voice to a number of organisations and individuals who are raising concerns about the violation of human rights in Indian controlled Kashmir, where officials are using the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act to arrest and detain political activists for long periods of time without trial.
At the end of her speech to the Commons, Shabana highlighted to the House that the plight of Kashmir demands attention, and that the UK government should act as a critical friend to both India and Pakistan, and to advocate the rights of Kashmiris on an international scale.