Worcester’s MP Robin Walker met yesterday with Lord Ahmad, Minister of State for the Commonwealth, the UN and South Asia, joining a cross party delegation to discuss the ongoing situation in Kashmir.
There is a substantial Kashmiri community in Worcester, including the current mayor and his predecessor, and there are a number of families who, although they mainly come from Azad Kashmir, also have family ties on the Indian side of the border. The Kashmiri community in Worcester have also been very upset by the fact that the curfew imposed has restricted family reunion during the festival of Eid.
During the meeting with Lord Ahmad, Robin was assured that the UK Government is working and continues to work tirelessly through all diplomatic channels to encourage de-escalation and to ensure long-term regional stability. The UK Government does this alongside international partners and with a wide range of counterparts in India and Pakistan.
Robin will be meeting with the community at Worcester’s Unity House this Friday at 4:00pm and will seek to get some specific examples of the issues affecting constituents and their families. The Minister was clear with Robin in their discussion that one of the most effective tools available of the British Government is to take up the individual cases of people with links to the UK.
Robin has previously written to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office seeking an update on what steps the FCO has been taking to secure the human rights of the Kashmiri people and intends to do so again with further information and detail from the local community.
Speaking after the meeting, Robin said:
“I have had serious concerns raised with me by a number of constituents and I was glad to be able to raise these directly with Lord Ahmad. While I respect that it is a tricky situation, I encourage all constituents with links to come forward and I will raise these directly to Lord Ahmad.”
“I am due to meet with constituents in the City to discuss their specific concerns imminently and will take up the concerns raised directly with the Foreign Secretary. It is very important to me as an elected representative to ensure that my constituents are well served and, in cases like this where family members may directly be affected abroad, I would urge constituents to talk to me so I may make representations on their behalf.”
Mayor of Worcester, Councillor Allah Ditta said:
“As the Mayor, together with Robin I have organised a community meeting at Unity House at 4:00pm, in which all members of the community are encouraged to attend.”
“Local Councillors Altaf of Gorse Hill and Nida Hassan of Warndon North will be in attendance and all other councillors are welcome.”