Pak's divisive agenda flattened ahead of Modi's UK visit

ANI | Updated: Apr 17, 2018 14:35 IST

London [United Kingdom], April 16 (ANI): Even as the Indian Diaspora across the United Kingdom (UK) is getting together to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held here later this week, attempts by pro-Pakistan elements like Lord Nazir Ahmed to promote a divisive agenda are reportedly falling flat.

Participating in a debate in the House of Lords ahead of CHOGM on Monday (April 16), Lord Ahmed faced criticism from British Liberal Democrat politician Lord Navnit Dholakhia for controversially asking whether the British government could help in bringing a "peaceful end to the conflicts in those regions (Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab) and bring the perpetrators of (alleged) human rights abuses in Kashmir" to book.

Lord Dholakhia said, "My Lords, we must allow India and Pakistan to have the opportunity to have a peaceful dialogue without the interference of other countries and from the terrorist elements who operate to destablise the political process."

He also criticized Lord Ahmed for further asking the British government whether it supports a "free, fair and impartial plebiscite (in Kashmir) in accordance with the UN Resolutions of 1948 and 1949, and a referendum for Khalistan."

Lord Dholakhia said, "This is the most unhelpful suggestion from Lord Ahmed. How is this likely to help Pakistan if a formal reservation against the right of self-determination by the agents of Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh are taken to its logical conclusion? It will render this country almost ungovernable.

The British government, in its reply to both, reiterated that issues related to Kashmir and Sikhs are an internal matter of the Government of India, and added that it is for India and Pakistan to find a "lasting political solution" as far as the Kashmir issue is concerned.

"And, we encourage both sides to maintain a positive dialogue. They (India and Pakistan) have to determine the best way forward. Prime Minister Modi has been clear that justice will be done. On the issue of human rights, India has a strong and democratic framework which guarantees human rights. However, India faces numerous challenges relating to size and development when it comes to protecting these rights," the government said.

The biennial CHOGM began from Monday (April 16). There'll be three days of special forums on business, women, youth and people, followed by a leaders' summit on Thursday and Friday (April 19 and 20).

According to the website, former Labour MP and British national, Lord Nazir Ahmed, who is of Pakistani origin, is reported to be planning a protest by the local Sikh community on April 18, and it is being anticipated that this protest might turn violent, prompting the need for heightened security around the CHOGM venue, the hotel where Prime Minister Modi will be staying and the events that he will attend.

As is well known, Lord Ahmed has been at the forefront of a campaign to expose the Indian government's alleged human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as its perceived inability to bring closure to the anti-Sikh riots cases of 1984.

Some British politicians of Pakistani origin have been entrusted with the task to mobilize people from Sikh and Muslim communities to stage protests. In the past, when such protests were held, British citizens were made to suffer.

Lord Dholakia has pointed out such attempts are only likely to damage Pakistan itself, as can be seen by the present situation in Balochistan and Sindh.

There is a view emerging that the British government must ban such engineered protests immediately to stop the spread of fear among its citizens and prevent British soil from being used to bolster a foreign agenda.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi can expect a more rapturous welcome than he did in 2015, when he arrives here to attend the CHOGM.

Thousands of migrant Indians, said to be the most important community in the British Isles, are reportedly getting ready to descend on Parliament Square tomorrow (April 18) to give Modi a euphoric and colourful welcome.

There is, according to the web site, a huge sense of optimism, hope and dynamism among non-resident Indians when it comes to Prime Minister Modi.

"Indians, both at home and abroad, have been galvanized to view the Indian future with a great deal of optimism, despite the vast challenges Mr. Modi continues to face. That is the result of his numerous progressive initiatives - from his 'Swatch Bharat' cleanliness campaign and his drive for equal rights for women to economic policies like demonetisation and his crackdown on money laundering, not to mention the dramatically improved ease of doing business in India," said the website.

In a tweet, the web site said, "We gifted Shri Narendra Modi ji a 20 foot long hand made blanket back in 2015 made by 3500 Indian Ladies living across the UK. This time we decided to allow them to pour their hearts to their beloved PM. Also planned is a colorful FlashMob!"

"Most Indians living abroad are proud of the way Modi has established India firmly in the global conscience - economically, socially and culturally. And, above all, there is a greater sense of community and cohesion among Indians around the world to unite under Mr Modi's doctrine 'Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas' (Collective Efforts, Inclusive Growth) to progress not only as individuals but as a nation, together," the web site said.

On April 18, several community groups will be represented in Parliament Square - from women's groups to religious organizations and those representing the vast array of ethnic groups that make up India's kaleidoscopic demographic landscape.

Modi is expected to be cheered on and greeted by dance troupes, flash mobs and cultural celebrations while tea and Indian food will be distributed to all and sundry.

During the London leg of two-nation visit, Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to hold two bilateral meetings with Prime Minister Theresa May and have a private audience with Queen Elizabeth II, the head of the Commonwealth. (ANI)