17:37 GMT05 April 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): A week after the British government said it viewed Kashmir as a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, an opposition lawmaker from Britain has said the UN Security Council (UNSC) still has a role to play in the ongoing dispute.

    Hailing the UNSC’s “huge” step in discussing the Kashmir issue for the first time after more than 50 years, opposition Labour Party member Imran Hussain while visiting Pakistan, however, stated the global body “should have gone further” in taking the dispute to its logical end.

    "There should have been an agreed statement of condemnation which was not issued due to some reasons. While we welcome [the session] I believe that the Security Council still has a role to play, the international community has a role to play, and we will continue to push for that in the British Parliament", Hussain said in a media briefing with Pakistan-administered Kashmir President Masood Khan and another British lawmaker Khalid Mahmood.

    "The fact that this issue was taken up by the UNSC after 50 years is a huge thing [...] but I want to register concern because I believe that the Security Council should have gone further", Hussain added.

    Hussain, is leading a British parliamentary delegation in Pakistan at the invitation of the country’s National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser.

    He said the delegation had already called on Pakistani President Arif Alvi and been briefed about the Kashmir issue by the country’s Foreign Office.

    The delegation, which will also call on Prime Minister Imran Khan, is expected to visit the Line of Control (LoC) that separates Pakistan and India in the Kashmir region.

    The British MP also described the security restrictions on the Indian side of Kashmir as a "very worrying situation".

    His comments came days after a British diplomatic source in London had been quoted by Indian daily the Times of India as saying that the UK government viewed Kashmir as a bilateral issue that India and Pakistan have to resolve.

    On 21 August, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a telephone conversation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had clarified Kashmir remained a bilateral matter between India and Pakistan as far as the UK is concerned.

    After initially turning down Pakistan’s request to hold a meeting, the UNSC organised an informal meeting on 16 August at China’s request to discuss the situation in Kashmir following India revoking Jammu and Kashmir's special status.

    The state was also divided into two federally administered territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, a move India claimed would give impetus to the region’s development.

    The Indian government also imposed a strict lockdown and communications blackout in the region for almost a fortnight before deciding last week to remove the restrictions in a phased manner.

    Pakistan, which claims to be a stakeholder in Kashmir, has mounted a diplomatic offensive against India’s decision.

    Kashmir has been a bone of contention between India and Pakistan since the countries gained freedom from British colonial rule in 1947. Both govern part of the region but claim it in full. They also fought two wars over Kashmir.

    Tags:
    United Nations Security Council, dispute, lawmaker, Labour Party, Kashmir, United Kingdom, Pakistan, India
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