British parliamentarian Bob Blackman has asserted that India had a sovereign right over Jammu and Kashmir region and called on Pakistan to leave Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). This comes after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson made it clear that it was for India and Pakistan to find a lasting solution to the Kashmir issue.
Addressing a UK-based Kashmiri Pandit gathering organised in London, the Conservative Party MP on Saturday also opposed Pakistan’s plan to move a UN resolution in the wake of India’s decision to end the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir.
“The entirety of the state of Jammu and Kashmir is part of sovereign India, and people that ask for UN resolution to be implemented ignore the first resolution, which is that Pakistani military forces should leave Kashmir to re-unite the state,” Blackman was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Blackman, who also chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Hindus, has been a long-time supporter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He had also written to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson accusing Opposition Labour Party MPs of making provocative statements against India.
“I strongly support the revocation of Article 370… Narendra Modi has again shown proper and strong leadership in honouring the manifesto of the BJP – now is the time to properly integrate Jammu and Kashmir into the Indian Constitution,” Blackman said.
In response to Blackman’s letter, Johnson described both India and Pakistan as “important partners to the UK” and repeated the UK government’s stance for “calm and restraint”. “The government’s long-standing position remains that it is for India and Pakistan to find a lasting political solution to the situation in Kashmir, in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people,” Johnson had noted in a letter dated September 6.
On August 21, during a telephone call with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Boris Johnson called Kashmir a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and stressed on the importance of ‘resolving issues through dialogue’,
Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after New Delhi ended Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5 and bifurcated it into two Union Territories. India has strictly maintained that the Kashmir issue was its ‘internal matter’.
(Inputs from PTI)