14 April 2000

The Muslim Council of Britain has asked Foreign Secretary Robin Cook to use his visit to India to urge the appointment of a Special Envoy to act as a mediator in the Kashmir conflict.

In a letter on the eve of the Foreign Secretary’s departure for India, MCB Secretary General Iqbal Sacranie said, “Britain has great and special responsibility towards the people of Kashmir ever since the existence of the Kashmir conflict. Successive British Governments have been insisting for a peaceful resolution of the conflict acceptable to the people of Kashmir, but nothing has materialised as yet.”

“The British Muslim community is appalled at the continuing killing, rape, arson and destruction in Kashmir by 700,000 Indian forces, who have killed over 70,000 Kashmiri in the last 11 years. We urge you to call on Indian Government for immediate cessation of killings and for allowing international human rights and humanitarian organisations free access to Kashmir.”

The MCB stresses to Mr Cook to make all efforts in persuading the Indian Government to agree to the appointment of Special Envoy acceptable to all parties, in the spirit of UN Resolutions, who would facilitate a process of negotiations for permanent solution based on freely determined wishes of Kashmiri people.

The Foreign Secretary is reminded that Kashmir has long been a source of tension and conflict between India and Pakistan. Now that both nations have nuclear capability it is even more imperative that there is a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir conflict and positive efforts are initiated for otherwise over a billion people of South Asia would be in danger of nuclear annihilation.

The letter concludes by stating, ” We hope and trust that your visit to India would bring about a positive change which would lead to an early resolution of the Kashmir conflict for peace and prosperity of the people of the region.”