Trade Chief MEP, Sajjad Karim, expressed his dismay today at the European Union’s current position on the most recent conflict between India and Pakistan.
In response to a statement by the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, on the recent escalation of violence in the region, Mr Karim addressed the Commissioner in a letter saying that her failure to refer to Kashmir was “disconcerting”, given that the conflict began in Indian-administered Kashmir (IAK).
He also referenced the worsening human rights situation on the ground in IAK, saying that a resolution to the decades-old conflict was in the interest of all parties involved and that failure to mention the region of Kashmir was not helping the situation.
Speaking from Brussels, Mr Karim said:-
“After the recent escalation of violence in Kashmir between India and Pakistan, I was disappointed to see the European Union’s response on the issue. In High Representative Mogherini’s statement, she failed to mention Kashmir - the region where the latest conflict started.
“It’s for this reason that I felt compelled to write a letter to the Commissioner for Foreign Affairs, laying out my concerns with the EU’s current position. It is unrealistic to think that the dispute over Kashmir can be resolved without a single reference to the region. To ignore it in the EU’s dialogue does not help the situation it makes it worse.
“I hope that High Representative Mogherini can consider these points, knowing that a resolution to the conflict and deteriorating human rights situation on the ground is in the benefit of all parties involved.”
Mr Karim - who Chairs the Parliament’s Trade Monitoring Committee for South Asia - has been a prominent voice on the 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 subject each year.
He was also the Parliamentary rapporteur for the EU-India Free Trade Agreement in 2006 and 2009, where specific clauses were added, which stressed that human rights and democracy clauses were an essential part of a Free Trade Agreement, expressing concern specifically for the current human rights and security situation in IAK.