Trade Chief MEP, Sajjad Karim, today raised the use of pellet guns in Indian-administered Kashmir (IAK) with the EU’s Trade Commissioner.
In a question posed to Commissioner Malmström during an International Trade (INTA) Committee meeting within the European Parliament, Sajjad Karim asked for an update on the stalled EU-India Free Trade talks in relation to the atrocities being committed in IAK.
Speaking in the Committee, Sajjad said:
“First of all, some months ago Presidents Juncker [Commission] & Tusk [Council] made their way to India to try and revive the EU-India Free Trade Agreement. Ever since then things have fallen absolutely silent and when things fall silent it worries me because it means either nothing is happening or something is happening that I don’t know about.
“The fact that you’ve been silent today on this as well prompts me to put that question to you, but one thing I must say is my mailbag is absolutely full of representations about the situation that’s unfolding in Kashmir at this stage, where pellet guns are being used in order to blind, maim and kill people. International human rights organisations are giving a lot of accounts of what is happening, but they are being denied access there, so it is particularly important that we have an update as to where those talks have arrived at.”
Commissioner Malmström’s response addressed all the issues raised by the British MEP on the EU-India Free Trade talks except on the most important point of Kashmir and the human rights abuses. She said that “progress is being made” and that there is “constructive willingness” from the Indians, but the two sides are still not at “the same level of ambition”.
The North West MEP also added:
“There is a very strong feeling in the EU that British Kashmiris weakened Europe by supporting Brexit. This is a false assertion peddled by Brexit supporters who ultimately are harming the Kashmir issue here.”
Dr Karim has been a prominent voice on the Kashmir issue over the years, co-hosting an annual conference - Kashmir-EU Week - in conjunction with the Kashmir Council-EU, a Brussels based NGO, which aims to raise awareness of the issue each year.
He also chairs the South Asia Trade Monitoring Committee within the European Parliament and was the Parliamentary rapporteur for the EU-India Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in 2006 and 2009, where specific clauses were added and adopted by a full plenary session of the Parliament at the time, as well as Chairing the Friends of Pakistan Group.