India objects to the UK for allowing Pak FM to hold conference on Kashmir in the House of Commons

Srinagar: India has objected to the United Kingdom for allowing Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to hold a conference on Kashmir in the House of Commons during his visit to London this weekend.

Economic Times reported that New Delhi has conveyed these through diplomatic channels after it emerged that the Pakistan foreign minister will hold a conference on Kashmir during his visit starting February 4.

Pertinently Pakistan has invited all the stakeholders for the conference on Kashmir in the UK on February 5, when Pakistan officially celebrates Kashmir Solidarity Day.

The UK, for its part, is believed to have assured India that Qureshi will not be on an official bilateral visit and no formal meetings are scheduled for him with the British government, the Economic Times reported.

New Delhi, however, is keeping a close watch after Qureshi made a phone call to Hurriyat Conference (M) chairperson Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Tuesday to invite him to the conference. Qureshi is also expected to join protest marches on Kashmir in London.

Confirming that India has officially raised the matter with the UK, informed sources told Economic Times: “We have taken up the matter with the UK authorities and they are aware of our sensitivities on the motivation and timing of the visit.”

Qureshi is leading a Pakistan government effort to hold a seminar on the report of the UK all-party parliamentary group on Kashmir headed by MP Chris Leslie. The report, which was brought out last November is critical of Indian Army presence and has alleged gross human rights abuses in the Valley. It also called for the removal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Public Safety Act.

Qureshi has consistently riled India since the Imran Khan government took over in Islamabad. He went beyond the charted course in his UN General Assembly speech last September, where he blamed India for orchestrating the Mashtung in Baluchistan in which nearly 150 persons were killed. He brought up the Samjhauta blasts and Kulbhushan Jadhav to make the point that India was sponsoring terror.

Further, Qureshi mocked at India when the government sent a delegation to the Kartarpur event, saying Pakistan had successfully delivered a googly on India. And then the call to Mirwaiz, which breaks the unwritten understanding on how to engage the Kashmiri leadership.

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