Kashmir Portal

A digital Kashmir Info Network

Kashmir resolution essential to defeat Taliban: Lord Ahmed

Posted by Kashmir Portal on June 16, 2009

LONDON, June 13 (APP)-

Leading British Muslim lawmaker Lord Nazir Ahmed has asserted that resolving the Kashmir issue is a prerequisite to defeating the Taliban
in the NWFP. Taking part in a discussion on ‘Pakistan at a cross-roads’ organised by the South Asia and Middle East Forum at the House of
Commons last night, he said “seven years of war on terror and the US and NATO led forces have pushed the Al-Qaeda and foreign fighters into
the tribal areas of Pakistan. This is the main reason for the continued terrorism within Pakistan.”  Praising Pakistan armed forces, Lord Ahmed said, “Pakistan army is fighting well-trained, well-armed and well-financed terrorist organisations, which are united under the umbrella of ‘Tehreek-a-Taliban’ in the Swat Valley.

Unfortunately the collateral damage from recent fighting in the region and US drone attacks has caused a considerable amount of civilian casualties, and has now brought about a problem of winning the hearts and minds of the local people.”

Lord Ahmed warned the parliamentarians and NGOs present at the event that if the 2.5 to three million internally displaced people are not looked after and fed properly, then this may become a fertile breeding ground for terrorism.

“That is why it is imperative that European governments give more aid to the Government of Pakistan, to avert a humanitarian crisis.”

The British legislator further said that although the Pakistani people have been supporting this war against the Tehreek-a-Taliban, the public opinion could change if the internally displaced people are not treated well or looked

after.

He was of the view that the response to the present humanitarian crisis has been very slow as compared to the support and aid provided during 2005 Kashmir earthquake.

Lord Nazir Ahmed spoke of his confidence about the Pakistan Army’s ability to defeat the terrorists and militants, however, he added until the Kashmir issue is resolved, the  Army will never be able to concentrate on the western

border fully.

“Therefore it is incumbent of the European and international communities to ensure that the issue of Kashmir is resolved.”

Earlier, Lord Ahmed also spoke at the British-Swiss Chamber of Commerce in Geneva, where he highlighted the plight of the IDPs in Pakistan and urge Europe not to ignore their predicament.

He spoke on the topic of ‘How the Middle East and South Asia still affects British home and foreign policy, post empire.’

He said although Pakistan is fighting a war against these extremists, in order to secure its own survival, the country is also fighting their war as the front-line state against Al-Qaeda.

He expressed fear that this conflict could turn into a long and bloody war with dire consequences for the international community if the challenges remain unchecked.

The Mirpur-born British lawmaker called for providing more resources and modern weapons for the Pakistan Armed forces to tackle effectively the threat posed by Taliban and the militants.

Lord Ahmed urged the European communities to support Oxfam’s call for an immediate andurgent aid donation of $ 42 million in order to save lives in the Swat Valley.

He said, “We must not allow the war in the tribal-belt to become an industry for some and political tourism for others. There is a need for  a quick and decisive military victory, which must be backed by long-term development strategies for this region.”

Lord Nazir Ahmed spoke against any lobby or minority group dictating the foreign policy of any state saying that only an elected Government has the mandate and responsibility to do this.

However, he said, “Government should not ignore the voice and feelings of the public, which was the case in the Iraq war”.

He pointed out the Tamil protestors outside UK Parliament over the last two months have proved that public pressure can force governments to take action.

This pressure, he added, resulted in the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, and three other European Foreign Ministers flying  to Sri Lanka to urge the Sri Lankan Government to allow safe passage of Tamil civilians, who were trapped in the war.

“The British Muslims also have feelings and aspirations in relation to Kashmir and Palestine, and their feelings must not be ignored,” he declared.

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