Brussels: As countries around the world marked Human Rights Day, Dr Sajjad Karim MEP spoke up for the plight of those most forgotten. The British Conservative MEP took the floor of the European Parliament plenary chamber and called on the EU not to turn a blind eye to the violation of human rights in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Dr Karim MEP, Chairman of the influential Friends of Pakistan group in the European Parliament, spoke out in the debate of the annual Parliamentary report on Human Rights and told MEPs not to treat Kashmir with ‘double standards’.
The UK MEP was successful in inserting an amendment highlighting serious concerns in Kashmir, particularly over the issue of mass graves where over 2000 unmarked graves were found. And he expressed his disappointment with his colleagues for failing to address the issue seriously.
“I am afraid that Kashmir and the plight of Kashmiris would have been completely omitted from this report. It is this house of the EU institutions that keeps the suffering of the Kashmiri people on the agenda.
“I am afraid, our flag ought to represent something for which we can be proud, and in many instances it does, but when it comes to the issue of Kashmir, it represents nothing other than double standards.”
Today’s speech from Dr Karim MEP follows on from his long standing calls for an investigation into the mass graves of Kashmir. In December 2011 he grilled the EU Foreign Affairs Chief and condemned her lack of action on the matter.
Malala Yousafzai, Nelson Mandela and the persecution of the Christian minority in Egypt were all mentioned during the lively discussion in Strasbourg. Yousafzai, the teenage activist from Pakistan who recently received the EU Sakhorav human rights prize, was used to highlight the EU’s plan to implement more funds to education children.
Dr Karim MEP, who established the Friends of Pakistan group in 2004, will be visiting Pakistan over the coming few days to meet with high level officials.
The area of Kashmir has been a flash point between India and Pakistan for over 60 years and continues to be a source of tension between the nuclear neighbours.