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UK Lawmakers Back Baloch Protesters In A Motion

Labour MP John McDonnell tabled the motion on December 19, 2023.

Nine Members of Parliament (MP) across various parties from the UK Parliament have expressed support for a motion addressing the human rights situation in Balochistan, as reported by the Balochistan Post.

Labour MP John McDonnell tabled the motion on December 19, 2023.

It further appreciated the bravery of Baloch women, who are leading a march to Islamabad in protest against enforced disappearances, abductions, and killings associated with the operations of Pakistan’s Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in Balochistan.

Moreover, the motion, titled “Long March in Balochistan,” has received backing from various MPs.

Additionally, co-sponsors included former UK Shadow Minister of Defence Rachael Maskell, Jim Shannon from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), Labour MPs Mary Kelly Foy and Nadia Whittome, and Alison Thewliss from the Scottish National Party (SNP), the Balochistan Post reported.

Meawhile, Chris Stephens from SNP, Apsana Begum from the Labour Party, and Independent MP Jonathan Edwards have also expressed additional support, demonstrating a bipartisan acknowledgement of the Balochistan issue.

John McDonnell MP

The motion called on the UK government to express its concerns about the violation of fundamental human rights in Balochistan and the violent attacks on Baloch protesters by the Islamabad police.

The cross-party support from Labour, SNP, and DUP proves to be a crucial step in drawing global attention to the Balochistan issue.

It further signified a rising global concern over the state’s reported response to the protests and the broader human rights situation in Balochistan.

Earlier today, the Baloch Yakjehti Committee (BYC) said that the sit-in against the Baloch genocide continues for the 50th day and added that they have travelled from Turbat to Islamabad not only for the love of their loved ones but to put an end to “dehumanising genocidal policies of the State practised in Balochistan with brute force and violence.”

In a post shared on X, the Baloch Yakjehti Committee said they need the support of people from all backgrounds and regions to unite and stand against the “mighty forces of tyranny” and send a clear message that they are ready to sacrifice everything for the basic right to live and exist. The video and pictures shared by the Baloch Yakjehti Committee showed people participating in the sit-in being held outside the National Press Club in Islamabad.

They also appealed for international support, further claiming that a government-sponsored sit-in, which includes purported members of “state-sponsored death squads,” is opposing their demonstration. (ANI)

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UK Parliament Celebrates J&K Accession Day

The UK Parliament has witnessed a historic commemoration of the 75th year of the signing of the Instrument of Accession by Maharaja Hari Singh, through which the erstwhile Princely state of Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India.

Organised by the Jammu Kashmir Study Centre UK, a think tank dedicated to the study of J&K, the event was hosted by Conservative MP Bob Blackman, media reported.

The event while reflecting on the historicity of the days leading up to the Accession of J&K to India, focused on showcasing the current developments in the region including the positive changes seen since the abrogation of Article 370, Daily Excelsior reported.

The event saw a packed room with over 100 attendees comprising of many local Councillors, community leaders, representatives of various organizations, members of the diaspora and friends of India. Besides MP Bob Blackman, the event was attended by MP Theresa Villiers, Chipping Barnet, Virendra Sharma MP – Chair, APPG for India and Ovessa Iqbal, First Secretary, High Commission of India.

(Photo Jammu-Kashmir Now)

Bob Blackman, who chaired this informative seminar at the House of Commons, displayed his framed copy of the Instrument of Accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh, adding that it occupied a place of pride in his office.

He stated emphatically that it couldn’t be clearer that the late Maharaja ceded the entirety of J&K to India and Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and has been since 1947.

He hoped that better sense prevails on Pakistan so that it ceases its illegal occupation of parts of J&K and the region gets re-united as that is what is legally and constitutionally correct.

MP Theresa Villiers expressed her desire to hear more about Jammu Kashmir. MP Virendra Sharma stressed that leaders from across parties and community members must come together and counter the false narrative on J&K. Ovessa Iqbal, First Secretary, High Commission of India, highlighted the strides being made by J&K and the fast paced growth since the abrogation of Art 370 in all sectors and across the State.

(Photo Jammu-Kashmir Now)

There were video presentations by subject matter experts and stakeholders from across JK, who included Alok Bansal, Director India Foundation & Executive Director South Asian Institute for Strategic Affairs; Col Ajay Kumar Raina, Utpal Koul and Prof Sajjad Raja, a native of District Bhimber, PoJK.

Sajjad Raja said that PoJK was facing the worst imaginable violation of basic human rights. He demanded reunification of JK and called out for people to speak up and stand up against Pakistan and its illegal occupation of PoJK, it was reported.

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Chinese envoy banned from UK Parliament

Zheng was due to attend a House of Commons reception, hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on China, on Wednesday…reports Asian Lite News.

A day before he was due to attend a reception at the Parliament House, China’s Ambassador to the UK, Zheng Zeguang, has been informed that he cannot come there while Beijing continues to sanction over half-a-dozen lawmakers, reports said on Tuesday.

Zheng was due to attend a House of Commons reception, hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on China, on Wednesday.

However, after protests from the MPs concerned – five of the House of Commons and two of the House of Lords – the respective presiding officers, Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle and Lord Speaker Lord McFall announced their decision, the BBC reported.

In the wake of the UK’s decision to impose sanctions against Chinese officials for human rights abuses in Xinjiang, China had in March imposed travel bans on five MPs and two peers whom it accused of spreading lies about the country.

The five sanctioned Conservative MPs – Sir Iain Duncan-Smith, Tom Tugendhat, Nusrat Ghani, Neil O’Brien and Tim Loughton – had written to the Speaker last week, expressing their concern over the parliamentary group’s invitation to Zheng to its summer party.

The peers – Lord Alton and Labour’s Baroness Kennedy – wrote to the Lord Speaker.

“The sanctions imposed by the Chinese government represent an attack not just on members directly targeted, but on the Parliament, all parliamentarians, select committees, and parliamentary privilege.

“We should never allow our place of work to become a platform to validate and promote such sanctions…

“It is unthinkable therefore that parliamentarians should have to suffer this infringement on our liberties whilst the prime representative of the Chinese government in the UK is still apparently free to come to Westminster and to use facilities here as a mouthpiece for his regime.”

In a statement, Sir Lindsay said: “I do not feel it’s appropriate for the ambassador of China to meet on the Commons estate and in our place of work when his country has imposed sanctions against some of our members.”

Lord McFall’s spokeswoman said the “meeting should take place elsewhere considering the current sanctions against members, including two members of the Lords”.

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said: “The parliament is independent of the government. It is for the Speaker to decide who is allowed on the parliamentary estate.”

Meanwhile, the Chinese Embassy in London condemned what it called the “despicable and cowardly action of certain individuals of the UK Parliament.”

Responding to a question if the postponement is related to China’s sanctions on some British parliamentarians, a spokesperson for the embassy said “the sanctions on relevant persons and institutions in Britain announced by the Chinese side in March are beyond reproach.”

China’s sanctions are justified responses to the unilateral sanctions imposed by the British side on relevant Chinese individuals and entities based on disinformation and under the pretext of so-called human rights abuse in Xinjiang, the spokesperson added.

Tit-for-tat sanctions between Britain and China escalated this year after Western powers joined to sanction Chinese officials in Xinjiang for their alleged role in the region’s human rights abuses. (with inputs from ANI)

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