Debating Kashmir in U.K.
A heated debate in the House of Commons on September 11, 2014 on Jammu and Kashmir, saw the majority of British MPs uphold India’s position, with one Member of Parliament—Labour Party’s Barry Gardiner MP questioning whether it was right for the British Parliament to hold such a debate, citing a hypothetical situation of the Lok Sabha debating Scotland.
The Liberal Democrat MP-David Ward (MP for Bradford East) had called for this debate about the ‘political and humanitarian situation in Kashmir’ on behalf of the Jammu & Kashmir Self Determination Movement (Europe). Notably, Bradford City has the biggest Pakistani-origin population in Britain and in the past, such constituents have been known to pressurise their MPs to censure India on Kashmir.
The debate took place in Committee Room 10, at the House of Commons and under the auspices of the Backbench Business Committee, i.e.: it wasn’t a part of Government business and there was no vote at the end of the debate. At the same time, it had official recognition and was recorded accordingly. MPs from the three main parties spoke in favour of Kashmiri Pandits and acknowledged their forced exodus from their homeland 25 years ago .They further stated that the Kashmir issue has to be negotiated bilaterally by India and Pakistan and welcomed Indian Prime Minister Modi's invitation to the Prime Minister of Pakistan for his inauguration ceremony and PM Modi's offer of financial help to Pakistan for the victims of the flood disaster.